Scientific American Weighs in on Exotic Pets

This week’s release and death of more than 50 so-called “exotic” animals near Zanesville, Ohio, is a tragic reminder that the laws protecting wildlife in the U.S. are full of loopholes that endanger not only the animals themselves but also people.

One of those loopholes could actually be closed soon. Last month, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) proposed doing away with an exemption in the Captive-Bred Wildlife Registration Program that currently allows individuals to own “generic” tigers (any tiger, usually cross-breeds, that can’t be identified as from the Bengal, Sumatran, Siberian/Amur or Indochinese subspecies and are therefore genetically useless for conservation purposes). If the new rule passes, owners of all of these tigers—the FWS estimates there could be 5,000 or more of these animals in the U.S. alone, significantly more full-breed tigers than remain in the wild—would be required to register the animals with the federal government. Owners would need permits or authorizations to sell the tigers across state lines, to harm them or to kill them. (You can read more about this proposed rule change and find out how to comment on it here.)

Full story here.

(And make sure to keep sending in your comments to Ohio and Federal officials!)

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