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In the United States of America there are over 5000 pet tigers in captivity held by private owners. Surprisingly however 350 of those tigers are actually held by Zoos. This population amount is nearly double that of the tigers that are actually left in the wild. From last estimate there were only 3000 or so tigers left in the world’s jungles. Exotic pet ownership in the USA is certainly very popular and has been for a long time. These tigers were either descendants from disbanded circus’s, or Zoos that closed down. The tigers had to go somewhere and with the relaxed state laws in the USA they filtered down into the backyards of many Americans. The end result is the health of these tigers have been impacted badly. Being confined to cages and leashes has taken its toll on many animals, sparking aggressive mauling attacks on their owners. Not to mention the private breeding programs by some ‘tiger farms’ in the USA, the absence of laws means that breeders often in-breed the bloodline whether knowingly or by accident resulting in a diminished genetic pool and therefore higher risk of birth deformities in tiger cubs. Tiger breeders aspire to breed a white tiger, and sadly this is often the driving force for in-breeding.
The six states in the USA that really have relaxed laws; in fact they have no laws in place for pet tiger ownership. These states are, North Carolina, South Carolina, Wisconsin, Nevada, Alabama and West Virginia.