I could sit here and preach all day as to why this bill they are trying to introduce back into senate is a BAD BILL. Instead I will break it down with you and give you solid, logical and sound evidence and reason as to why this should be killed before it kills the big cats!
The first thing you see on the propaganda of all this is from the IFAW (International Fund For Animal Welfare) with “These cats don’t meow they kill” and “Across the US 10,000 – 20,000 big cats live in backyards and roadside zoo’s. Ummm where is their citations on this. I mean if you are going to quote statistics and be given any credibility, then one must list their sources.. funny how that is not there.. And the grand finale in the poster.. LOL… OVER 200 people have been killed or mauled SO FAR.. LOL.. WOW.
Now let us break THAT figure down. In the US from 1990- 2012 there has been.. drum roll please…. TWENTY ONE (yes, 21!) human fatalities involving big cats! This number is gathered from news reports and animal industry reports. For a more detailed report please see http://www.rexano.org/Statistics/Captive_big_cat_fatality.pdf as this is factual information. What you see on the 911 animal abuse site is over ninety something pages that are SUPPOSED to be made up of big cat attacks, when in fact all one has to do is READ the report and find it is padded with animal sightings, other animal encounters (monkeys, lizards etc) and wild animal attacks IN OTHER COUNTRIES… but I guess people are too busy to check the facts.
This pending bill is fueled by none other than the IFAW, Born Free, HSUS and of course Big Cat Rescue. None of these have taken the time to research the ramifications of what banning big cats in the US will do around the world. We are the reservoir of genetic diversity. We, the private sector are not beholding to an organization that tells us what is worthy of saving.. we research and find out for ourselves.
IF they get this into committee, it can signify the beginning of the end for many of the big cats, especially the Asian Leopard. I for one am so tired of fighting. I want to try to save an animal in a country that is fighting for their own survival and the Leopard is the least of their concern in that fight to survive.. some could care less if all of them were gone tomorrow. Others seek the leopard as a money making venture.. DEAD.. and others.. do care.. then I have to deal with THIS HERE in our own backyard. DAILY.
- The Big Cat Safety Act is NOT about public Safety at all. The most recent flyer put out by the IFAW states “ Over 200 people have been killed or maimed… so far” . Where do they get these statistics?
- Conservation- The argument is often heard that non AZA facilities and private owners do nothing for the conservation efforts. This cannot be the furthest from the truth. The AZA (Association of Zoo’s and Aquariums) is merely a private accreditation organization with no power to enforce legal action against a facility or owner. They also dictate what can be bred and when of a species. They do this collectively (in other words they tally up how many cages and how many species they have among all their member zoo’s to determine if the need is there to breed a species.) Problem with this is that they themselves admit they do not have the funds, nor the space to save all the endangered species. A prime example is the Asian Leopard. It is the same subspecies as the African, but prey and environment dictates the size, features, and coat of the predator, thus making the Asian Leopard a smaller cat than his African brother.
And I bet few know that the Florida Panther re-introduction program was accomplished with the efforts of the PRIVATE SECTOR. AZA Zoo’s do NOT breed them nor have they in the past from my research. And according to this death sentence of a bill, the AZA would be EXEMPT from the ban. So now.. the AZA will now dictate to the WORLD what is more important to save?
The Asian Leopard, in India, is being wiped out by poaching at the rate of 4 a week. (Poached as in they intercepted the pelts, claws,teeth etc) and this figure is not inclusive of man/leopard conflicts)
Over a decade ago, in 2001, the Asian Leopard numbered well over 8,000. Now in 2011 (the last census taken) there are less than 1200. India is the second most populated nation in the world and projected to be the most populated by 2025 (US Census Bureau) . The AZA has YET to place this animal on their SSP.
It takes a leopard 18-24 months to reach sexual maturity. The Leopardess will mate and carry a litter of 1-3 cubs for 91-93 days. The resulting litter has a 50% mortality rate from natural predation (snakes, other cats etc).
The surviving cub(s) will remain with the mother for 18-24 during which time the mother will not seek to re breed.
So if it takes almost TWO YEARS for 1.5 leopards to make it to maturity with less than 1200 surviving (no documentation on how many are breeding age females yet) and they are killing them off at the rate of at LEAST 416 a year.. and AZA zoo’s DO NOT BREED THEM, with big cat bans looming.. HOW LONG DO YOU GIVE THE ASIAN LEOPARD?
Here are some key points that the public NEEDS to be made aware of
- Breeding for Conservation- Another argument that self proclaimed “experts” like to quote is that our American cats are not “pure and do nothing for conservation” Well, tell that to our very own government that re-introduced the wolf to Yellowstone by taking what was the remaining population of Northern Rocky Mountain Wolf (Canis Lupis irremotus) to the Mackenzie Valley Wolf (Canis lupus occidentalis) or how about the Florida Panther. The FWCC had captive breeding programs breeding the Florida Panther ( Puma Concolor Coryi) to the Texas Cougar (Puma Concolor) . Breeding different subspecies can be beneficial in genetic diversity.
- Banning the breeding, ownership of big cats will only drive these animals underground, and create a black market. BANNING DOES NOT WORK.
- The captive cats here today are the direct result of over 15 generations of captive breeding. No private facilities except AZA zoo’s or universities are taking these animals from the wild and have not done so since the induction of CITES in July of 1975. So the adds you see AR post of “there are more tigers in captivity than in the wild leaves the general public to believe that we are taking these cats from the wild. This is simply NOT TRUE.
- The Scam of “Anyone can buy a tiger on line” is just that.. a scam. No one in the legislature bothers to check these ads out. They merely take them at face value. If in fact they did they would find that these are along the lines of a Nigerian Scam.
- The Jay Leno show showed a tiger cub on there in the winter of 2012. The story as told by Julie S. was that the lion cub was bought on line. IT WAS NOT. It was born at Animal Adventures Live in Okeechobee Florida and owned by Sue Pearce. She loaned the cub out (LC is the cub’s name) for a fee to an affiliate of Busch Gardens to take on the Jay Leno show. This can be verified by Sue Pearce and the cub is there was well as a press release by REXANO and Sue Pearce. But again, this was to further the agenda.
- With a ban, places like MJEF will be eradicated. The Asian Leopard will be fast tracked to extinction. The SSP is not the final answer to their survival. We are.
- Shrinking Gene Pool – The gene pool in the wild is shrinking. This is a no brainer. If their numbers are decreasing, so is their genetic diversity. In all actuality we here in the US are the last hope for many species, not only abroad.. but across the US. ALL big cats have a small gene pool from being on the edge of extinction for so long. The cheetah is the worst. So bad, that their sperm a lot of times is deformed. Does this mean we give up?NO.
- Private facilities have lower accident/fatality incidents than USDA, USDA/AZA and Sanctuaries. I am including a chart that shows the statistics on this.
- Big cat ban laws are an infringement on our rights. No one should be able to tell you what animal you can own as long as you are doing it responsibly and not placing the public in danger. And the big cat safety act is not about safety…. It is about control. STOP HR 1998 !!!!!