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Amur tiger © naturepl.com / Edwin Giesbers / WWF

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Dear 

Please help provide a stable and secure future for tigers.

There is currently a petition before APHIS to prevent public contact with tigers and other species. This petition seeks not only to protect these animals and the public, but to ensure the successful conservation of wild tigers.

The primary threat to tigers in the wild is poaching to supply the lucrative illegal trade in their parts. The current practice of allowing public contact with tigers--specifically with young cubs--for "tiger encounters" or photo opportunities means that private owners have an incentive to breed a constant stream of tiger cubs to supply those operations. However, once those tigers reach a certain size and age, they become less desirable for public contact and thus less profitable, while at the same time becoming vastly more expensive to feed and house.

Most of the sanctuaries in the United States capable of caring for big cats are full to overflowing and regularly have to turn unwanted animals away.

Given the patchwork of US regulations governing the treatment of captive tigers, these animals can be easily exploited by wildlife traffickers who funnel unwanted big cats into the illegal trade in tigers and tiger parts. When that happens, their availability helps to sustain a market that also drives the poaching of tigers in the wild.

As outlined in the petition for rulemaking before you, the banning of public contact with tigers will help enable APHIS to meet its legal obligations under the Animal Welfare Act of 1966 to ensure the proper care and treatment of these animals. It would also enable the United States to abide by its obligations under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and President Obama's 2013 Executive Order "Combatting Wildlife Trafficking."

Please ban public contact with tigers--of any age.

Sincerely,
[Your Name]
[Your Address]
[City, State, Zip]