The Truth About Big Cats in Captivity- part 1

Jen recently had the opportunity to speak with Susan Bass, Director of Public Relations for Big Cat Rescue.  Today’s blog post is based on some of what she learned.  -Rumpy


Imagine you are one day old. Your eyes are not yet opened. You have been yanked from your mother and forced to live in a wire cage. You’re forced to drink milk that’s not of your species.

Then at 8 weeks of age (if your owner bothers to wait that long), you and other cubs are loaded up into trailers and hauled from town to town. At a time in your life when you should be sleeping much of the time, you are instead forced to be held by stranger after stranger.

You thought it would be cool to hold a tiger cub. But did you ever once think what it must be like for that cub?
You thought it would be cool to hold a tiger cub. But did you ever once think what it must be like for that cub?

You must pose for photos with these people. If you complain, someone blows in your face or jostles you around like a parcel.

After 12 weeks of age, you are no longer useful.
How can humans treat something so cute so cruelly?

Such is the life of many large cats that are bred by so-called sanctuaries in the US and around the world.

In the four weeks (and I say that loosely, because no one really enforces that law) you’re on the road, you bring in thousands of dollars for humans. But now that you’re too old to pet, it’s going to cost thousands of dollars to keep you.

So what happens to you?

Come back tomorrow and find out.


Note: Click on the photos to go to their source page.

48 thoughts on “The Truth About Big Cats in Captivity- part 1

      1. I really can’t understand how evil we are as a breed (because that is all we are.) no other breed makes war, deliberately mistreats it’s young, imfirmed and old. Singularly we are usually really nice but put us into a pack so to speak and God we change I get so ashamed.

  1. Saw a video yesterday on another blog about the girl who was killed by a lion at a so called sanctuary. I don’t understand people and how they can be so cruel.

  2. Nice teaser, and it is an interesting issue, as its only news to me that there are many wild animal ‘sanctuary’ in the US. I thought animal cruelty exist only in the developing countries.

  3. Wow!
    Luckily my mother never took us to a zoo or place with animals in captivity, back then we never understood why, now we do, the woman was so right!
    Poor kittens.

  4. and when a mauling death occurs everybody is always asking, “why?!” duh….animals like this don’t belong behind bars but unfortunately their wild environments are so few and far between they would be completely lost to us without captive breeding, sanctuaries and zoos.

  5. Reblogged this on SERENDIPITY and commented:
    I love the big cats and I hate the way they are treated. Sadly, breeding them in captivity may be the only way to keep them from disappearing from the eath, but these are not toys to be played with. They are living creatures who need to be treated appropriately and with love.

    1. There is an accredited breeding program that is maintaining species. These tigers are considered ‘generic,’ meaning they are inbred and have no genetic link to tigers of the wild. They are also not tracked by any governmental agency in the US, so we have no idea how many there actually are.

  6. WE know FURST PAW… What can happen…. REMEMBER a Year ago last October… when Zanesville OHIO… made the News beclaws Terry Thompson let DOZENS of exotic Animals loose and then shot himself…. THAT was just about 20 miles from our hill.
    It was a SAD SAD and very SCARY time.
    NOTHING good can come of TRYING to OWN a non domestic… Free Spirit. NOTHING..

  7. Really interesting when you look at it through THEIR eyes! Even us Animal Lovers are “guilty”, maybe more guilty since we’re supposed to be very sensitive to our furry “kids”.. Great Post!!

  8. That is so sad. I recently visited a zoo (not really important where for they are mostly the same). It was my first experience and I am in the upper spectrum of senior citizen status 🙂 I was not impressed and really have NO desire to ever visit one again. It was very depressing and the animals have no choice. They are prisoners.

  9. Sometimes I think there are people thick enough to believe that animals don’t have nerves, blood, brain cells, and emotions. Either that, or they don’t care, as long as they or, maybe, their own children are not put in a cage and carted off somewhere.

  10. This is very sad. I wonder why it can be so hard for people to appreciate things as they are meant to be instead of forcing them into what they want them to be?

  11. I’m going to have to disagree. I’m familiar with most, if not all, of the sanctuaries in the United States. Not a single one that I know of breeds big cats. Rather, they are simply a sanctuary for orphans, injured, and some animals that cannot be returned to the wild, usually because the animals have become human imprinted.

    I cannot speak for sanctuaries overseas but I believe those connected with entities such as the San Diego Zoo and others that work for worldwide conservation are on the up and up.

    I do think it is cruel for some colleges, such as LSU off the top of my head, to parade a big cat around a noisy football stadium while in a cage that often is way too small for such an animal.

  12. By the way, to the best of my knowledge, even Big Cat Rescue — and I’ve been there several times when I worked in Tampa in the mid 1990s — does not breed big cats. They are a sanctuary.

    1. There are some places that ARE doing good work. A good rule of thumb is, if they’re asking you to pay to play with the animals, they are not keeping the well-being of the animals at heart.

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