Wisconsin is one of only eight states that lack regulations and tracking on tigers in captivity according to a conservation group. Leigh Henry with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) says most of the 5,000 captive tigers are in the hands of private owners rather than zoos. Meanwhile only 3,200 hundred of the big cats exist in the wild, according to a recent report by the group.
The WWF is pushing for federal legislation that creates a database listing all tigers in US captivity.
They are concerned that lax regulations are creating an easy target for black market sales, stimulating demand for tiger products and further threatening wild populations.
Tiger products are used in medicines in Asia.
Additionally Henry says there is a public safety concern of tigers not being properly caged.
Meanwhile in south central Wisconsin a volunteer at a big cat sanctuary was injured Friday when a 7-year-old Siberian tiger grabbed him with its mouth. The wife of the volunteer told the Wisconsin State Journal, “it was an accident, not an attack.”
The incident occurred at the Wisconsin Big Cat Rescue and Education Center. According the website their mission, “Is to provide a safe place and a comfortable home for abused, neglected, and unwanted big cats.”