18 tigers that were kept in captivity on a farm in Ohio were found dead. The exotic animals, claimed to be of Bengal origin, were kept in a cruel environment, in small cages that went against their natural need to roam.
Preserving the tiger habitat is as much a concern for the animals that live at large, since there are only 3,200 tigers left in Asia, as well as for the ones kept in captivity in the States. Here the only 5,000 tigers remaining can be found in actual traditional zoos as well as in all sorts of manufactured environments such as: tourist attractions facilities, makeshift zoos, breeding ranches and backyard pens, as the Ohio one.
Leigh Henry, senior advisor for the international conservation organization, stated in an interview for The Times that the fate of the wild animals that live at large is completely entwined with the on of those in captivity. A hundred years ago the tiger population worldwide was estimated at 100,000 specimens, now the species are coming close to extinction. “Their numbers are so low that any inkling of a threat could be devastating”, she said.
Unfortunately, animals kept in captivity in the United States are often sold for their parts. This happens when they grow too old or become dangerous. This practice fuels an ongoing market in China, where people believe that a potion made from tiger body parts has mystical restorative properties. The tiger owners feed this market and in doing so raise the price for body parts of wild tigers killed by poachers.
The actual legal system concerning the tiger owners in the U.S. is very liberal. They don’t have to formally report the acquisition of the animals. Furthermore, there are states where it’s easier to adopt a tiger than it is to adopt a dog or a kitten. The World Wildlife Fund considers the local laws which govern the ownership of exotic large animals to be very unrestrictive, filled with loopholes and incredibly lacking uniformity from state to state.