Bengal tiger mother and her cubs in the wild

A High Price For Entertainment

You can take a photo with a tiger cub for around $100.00.
What happens to that cub when it is no longer a profitable prop?

Tigers are used for entertainment all over the world: whether in movies, circuses, or as props for photo opportunities, these tigers are being exploited for money under the guise of conservation and education. It is important to understand that facilities allowing contact with cubs are breeding for this practice.  They are NOT protecting or conserving the species.

In the wild, a female tiger would give birth to a litter of cubs every 2-4 years, with the cubs staying with their mother for around 2 years.  Facilities that allow cub petting will breed a female tiger several times every year and continually take her babies from her at a very early age – sometimes mere days after birth – so patrons can pay to take photos with the young cubs.

Facilities that are in the business of cub petting or offering photos with tigers often give the cubs sedatives to make them less active.  

It is a common practice to de-claw and de-fang cubs to ensure they cannot injure patrons.

It’s easy to understand why people want to hold and cuddle these beautiful wild cats, but the joy of this experience quickly turns to dismay when you know what life is like for these cubs.

Bad For Cubs

  • Cubs are taken from their mothers within days of their birth so the mother will go back into heat to produce more cubs.

  • Cubs can be used as props for photo opportunities and cub petting for only 4 weeks – between 8-12 weeks old. 
  • Once they are too old to be handled, many cubs are sold into the black market for their parts, the pet trade, or are killed.

  • Cubs used in these businesses are rarely given the appropriate diet which leads to health problems as they grow older.

What Is A True Sanctuary?

Businesses that use cubs as props often say that they operate a sanctuary where the cubs will go as they grow up, but that is not the truth.

  • Sanctuaries do not breed animals.  Breeding animals outside of Species Survival Plans or Population Management Plans is not conservation.
  • Sanctuaries do not allow the public to come into contact with any animals.  This practice is one that is dangerous to both humans and animals.
  • Sanctuaries do not buy, sell, or trade any of their animals or their parts.  No money is ever exchanged for animals, or their parts after death, at a true sanctuary.
  • Sanctuaries are 501(c)(3) non-profits.  A sanctuary works toward its mission, not to make a profit.

Carolina Tiger Rescue is the only federally-defined wild cat sanctuary in North Carolina.

Let Your Values Guide Your Choices

  • Avoid facilities that allow cub petting, and those that are breeding outside of Species Survival Plans and Population Management Plans. 
  • Educate your friends and family about the dangers of cub petting.
  • Avoid businesses that exploit animals for profit.  Wild animals do not belong in entertainment acts at a fair or circus, nor should they be handled by the public.
  • Speak up!  Ask questions of business owners who claim they are protecting animals by using them as props.
  • If you see abuse at a wild animal exhibition, please report that to the USDA – the agency tasked with overseeing animal care  – and to your local animal control office.