Big Cat Sanctuary Alliance aims to eliminate private ownership and the commercial exploitation of wild cats in the United States.
Washington, D.C. – Sanctuaries and partner organizations from across the United States have come together to launch the first professional alliance dedicated to the welfare of captive big cats in captivity. The Big Cat Sanctuary Alliance (BCSA) is made up of sanctuaries and related organizations in reaction to the large numbers of big cats found in captivity. There are an estimated 5,000 to 7,000 tigers living in captivity today in the United States with only a small fraction living in accredited sanctuaries and zoos.
“Currently, there are no federal laws that regulate the private ownership of big cats and other dangerous exotic animals,” states Meredith Whitney, BCSA Rescue Committee Chair and International Fund for Animal Welfare’s Wildlife Rescue Program Officer. “There is a need for greater restrictions on ownership and breeding of big cats not only for the welfare of the animals but also to protect the public at large. The BCSA will help not only to advocate for better laws, but will serve as a mechanism for legitimate sanctuaries to work together to exchange information, work collaboratively to address challenges, and improve standards of care within the sanctuary community.”
The alliance was initially conceived of the Big Cat Conference in 2016 which brought together 22 sanctuaries and partners dedicated to caring and advocating for exotic big cats. The event was hosted by the International Fund for Animal Welfare and Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries.
“Promoting collaboration was one of the primary objectives of the Big Cat Conference. Seeing the big cat sanctuary community come together like this – and so quickly – demonstrates the level of commitment it has to protect the well-being of these animals,” explains Kellie Heckman, BCSA Advocacy Committee Chair and Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries’ Executive Director.
The alliance will use advocacy, collaboration and education to meet its mission.
“We welcome any true sanctuary caring for exotic cats in the United States to apply for membership,” offers Noelle Almrud, BCSA President and Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch’s Director. “The Alliance has an ambitious mission that can only be achieved if we all work together.