Can you tell a true tiger sanctuary from a scam?
As beautiful and mysterious as the cats we share our homes with, big cats such as tigers, lions, leopards, wildcats, jaguars, cougars, and cheetahs have fascinated humans since the beginning of recorded history. Unfortunately, that fascination has frequently led to exploitation. Exhibitors capitalize on large exotic cats’ allure and hold them in miserable conditions in captivity, breed them and take their babies away, and force them to entertain humans in circuses, cub photo ops, and roadside zoos—often under the threat of physical punishment.
Many of these outfits bill themselves as “tiger sanctuaries,” “rescues,” or “refuges.” Some facilities even claim to be “orphanages” for cubs, but often, that’s far from the truth.
So how can you tell a true tiger sanctuary from a fake one?
A true tiger sanctuary would never buy, sell, trade, breed, exploit, or profit from animals. Authentic sanctuaries don’t separate babies from their mothers to be “hand-reared” by humans. They don’t use deprivation or punishment to control them, and they don’t force these naturally fearful animals into unwanted contact with a barrage of strangers. They provide animals with large natural habitats that allow for roaming and other normal types of behavior, and they protect them from harassment.
The old adage still rings true: If you love someone, set them free. In the future, people will no longer exploit big cats and there will be no need for sanctuaries to house those who were rescued. In the meantime, if we’re going to see big cats in captivity, we need to support the people working to protect them, not the ones abusing them for profit (such as notoriously exploitive Black Jaguar–White Tiger).
There are several true tiger sanctuaries that are accredited by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS) and that are helping to end abuse. PETA has worked with many of them, including The Wild Animal Sanctuary, to retire some big cats we’ve rescued from abusive operations. If you’re wondering where to find a real tiger sanctuary near you, please use the GFAS website and support true animal advocates.
You can also watch your favorite big cats roaming free in nature from anywhere in the world via wildlife cameras. Africam offers a “live window into the African wild,” thanks to cameras strategically placed at watering holes and other locations that are frequented by exotic animals. If you miss an exciting moment, don’t worry—some of the coolest videos are saved and posted on the site.
Want to do more to help tigers and other big cats?
Join PETA’s Action Team to get updates on big cats needing help in your area. You can host demonstrations, speak at city meetings, hand out leaflets at the circus, or even impersonate your favorite feline.
And use PETA’s rapid-action form to take action to help tigers right now, where they need it most.