Learn More

Big Cat Sanctuary Alliance works to eliminate private ownership and the commercial exploration of wild cats in the United States.

In order to work towards our mission, we have adopted the following position statements.  These position statements help guide our decisions, clarify our message, and distinguish us from other groups.

  • We are opposed to cub petting and photo opportunities with wild cats.
  • We are opposed to the breeding of wild cats except for Species Survival Plans through AZA.
  • We are opposed to the private ownership of wild cats.
  • We have no position to AZA zoos, but are opposed to non-AZA zoos.
  • We are opposed to trophy and canned hunting of wild cats.
  • We are opposed to the use of wild cats in entertainment, including in film, on TV, and other entertainment areas.
  • We are opposed to the declawing and defanging of wild cats.
  • We are in favor of protected contact management of wild cats.
  • We are in favor of transferring no-releasable wild cats in the possession of fish and wildlife agencies to sanctuaries.
  • We are opposed to the use of images of wild cats that suggest domestication or tractability.

Important Big Cat Issues

Information and photo of two girls with a tiger cub

Cub Petting

Cub petting operations charge the public to play or take a photo with a baby tiger or other wild animal. Most people don’t know the cubs are ripped from their mothers shortly after birth to maximize profit, exposed to rough and abusive handling, and, when they grow too large to be handled by the public, sold to squalid roadside zoos or used to breed more cubs. People who care about wild cats should never pay to pet or take a photo with a cub, whether at a roadside zoo or country fair.

Photo Ops

Whether at home or abroad, the few minutes of “excitement” taking a photo with a wild cat means a lifetime of misery for that animal. The cats are often drugged, severely abused and painfully declawed. An unknown number are sold into the illegal wildlife trade and killed for their pelts and body parts. Tourists sometimes believe they are contributing to conservation or care of the animals in “sanctuaries.” A true sanctuary does not buy, sell, trade or breed their animals or allow the public to have direct contact with wild animals of any age.

Trophy Hunting

Trophy hunters pay big money to kill wild cats overseas just so they can hang a head or hide on their wall – despite the plummeting numbers of some big cat populations and the suffering involved. Zimbabwe’s famed Cecil the lion was lured with bait, shot with an arrow, and suffered for more than ten hours before his hunters tracked and finished him off. Other people engage in canned hunts, where big cats – including those who are captive bred or tame – are shot at close range in small enclosures. The killing of wildlife for trophies should be condemned worldwide.

Important Legislation News for Wild Cats

Big Cat Public Safety Act – H.R. 1818

Currently, there is no federal law regulating the private ownership and breeding of big cats in the U.S. Among the states there is a patchwork of laws; five states have no laws addressing this issue at all. The Big Cat Public Safety Act, H.R. 1818, aims to regulate big cat private ownership at the federal level. The bill would set stricter regulations on facilities that own big cats and regulate breeding by requiring facilities to be part of an approved conservation population. Learn More about the Big Cat Public Safety Act and how you can help pass this important bill.