Monday, December 27, 2010

Tigers as Pets

Drawing by Brenda Nelson.©

More Tigers are kept as pets than there are in the wild. Sadly many of these pets do not have ideal, or even marginally good, lives and living conditions. Not only are Tigers an “extreme” exotic pet, they are one that requires a high standard of care, often not met due to the cost and work involved. Tigers are not a house pet, although some people do keep them as such.

Most areas that allow tigers as pets require the owner to have a permit. Sadly having a permit does not account for much in some areas. The high cost of meat means many “Pet” Tigers are malnourished. Tigers are frequently found in bad condition, or not found at all... (the market for Tiger bones is huge in China, but USA has the second largest demand for this commodity).

In some cases people try to breed Tigers specifically for color (to produce “White” Tigers) and this results in inbred animals that have loads of health problems, leaving them in pain, for shortened lifespans.  As well many tiger cubs who are born in effort to produce the rarer white tigers, are killed if they do not have the correct color.

Painting by Brenda Nelson ©  I am Not Tony - on Raven House Publishing

Many people grow up dreaming of one day owning an exotic pet, such as a Tiger, but in truth big cats, such as Tigers, are not “Pets” as we know them. They are wild animals, not domesticated to the level of being considered a “pet”. Many people who own Tigers do so for selfish reasons (to be “cool” or to impress others), as opposed to owning them for the “right” reasons (because they can afford to care for it, provide it with a good life, and because it needs a safe place to live).

The facts are alarming, according to Big Cat Rescue, (the world's largest rescue group for large cats) over 1000 big cats were listed as “unwanted” by their owners over a 10 year period (1999 -2009). The rescue saved 79 of these, while only 19 found other homes.

The same site also mentions that 98% of exotic pets die within 2 years of being brought home as pets. Their site offers more alarming stats on Tigers and other Big Cats.  Here is their page on Wild Tiger information.

Other Links

Facts Regarding Owning Pet Tigers
Other Ways of Having a Pet Tiger