Exhibition Reporting Form & Database of Big Cat Incidents

Learn more about and report exhibition of big cats, and view a database of big cat incidents in the U.S.

The Use of Big Cats in Entertainment

The use of big cats for entertainment including in circuses, fairs, and traveling shows; film, television, and advertising; and other forms of entertainment, compromises animal health and welfare, puts the public at risk, and may adversely affect true conservation efforts. The cats are often subjected to intensive confinement, prolonged travel, abusive training, and deprivation of all that is natural to them.

The Big Cat Sanctuary Alliance opposes the use of big cats for any type of entertainment. You can read our full position paper on big cats in entertainment here. In addition, many traveling shows and fairs offer cub petting our photo-ops with big cats. Public interactions involving captive wild cats of any age compromise animal welfare, pose a risk to public health and safety, undermine conservation of species in the wild, and ultimately create a surplus of dangerous wild animals that are kept in backyards and inadequate facilities across the country. The Big Cat Sanctuary Alliance opposes the use of captive wild cats for cub petting encounters and photographic opportunities or any similar public interaction.  Read our full position paper on cub petting and photos with captive wild cats here. Please report scheduled fairs/circuses/traveling shows that are coming to your area and exhibiting wild cats, so that we may write letters of opposition/op-eds, etc., and alert our members and the public to discourage the use of big cats in entertainment. Learn how you can help by visiting www.bigcatalliance.org/learn-more/how-you-can-help/

Photograph courtesy of Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS).

Incidents Involving Big Cats

As experts in the field of captive big cats, we are all too familiar with incidents with big cats that result in physical harm or death of humans and big cats alike. These risks are the exact reason that we are opposed to any public contact with wild cat species and we require our member sanctuaries to abide by protected contact – always having a barrier between humans and big cats, whether they are staff or members of the public, they never have direct contact with the cats. Unfortunately, this is not true for many commercial exhibitors and private owners who allow for direct contact that can result in tragic consequences, and even in the best of circumstances, accidents do happen. The Big Cat Sanctuary Alliance keeps a database of these incidents to educate the public and media on the dangers of captive big cats.

Please note the following: The database is currently being updated to include incidents that have occurred since 2019, please check back often for updates. Also, just because a facility has the word “sanctuary” or “refuge” in the title does not mean that they are a true sanctuary. There are no legal requirements to include such terms in a facility’s name  – please research any facility properly before visiting or supporting.