Generic tiger cubs sell for about $500 to $1000 (USD) in the United States (1). Generic tigers are non-purebred or a hybrid subspecies of tiger.
Purebred domestic kittens of any breed sell for similar amounts. Does this strike you as odd? It can only mean that there is low demand for tigers in the USA and/or there are lots of tigers and not that many buyers.
The reason is probably that individuals who keep tigers as pets decide to breed them and that leads to oversupply. It also probably means that the tigers are more valuable dead for their body parts for Asian medicine. This may encourage the unnecessary killing of tigers in captivity. A major factor in the economics of buying and selling tigers is the cost of maintenance - very high. Do individuals who keep generic tigers have a route into the Asian medicine market? I don't know but I would expect that they do.
The fact that tiger cubs are the same price as purebred kittens is also a measure of the value that we put on the tiger. It is an extremely rare animal. There are about 3,000 in the wild on the planet. So why isn't it worth more?
We genuinely don't care enough about the tiger. For that reason it will become extinct in the wild in due course.
Associated page: Tigers for Sale.
Note: (1) http://www.tigerhaven.org/
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