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Tigers as pets in UK

There would seem to be 14 tigers as pets in the UK. These are licensed under the Dangerous Wild Animal Act 1976. People keeping tigers as pets illegally cannot be counted as we don't know about them. The figure excludes zoos.

However, I would guess that there are probably no illegal tigers that are kept as pets in the UK. It is quite hard to keep a tiger secret from people in the UK as it is a relatively overcrowded country. I think the UK is the most crowded of all European countries. It would be quite hard to avoid neighbors noticing that you have a tiger in an enclosure. This would probably lead to the neighbor checking with the local authority.

The figure of 14 tigers in the UK being kept by licensed keepers comes from a freedom of information request made by the Big Cats in Britain research group. There are also 12 lions and 50 leopards - in all there are 154 wildcats kept as pets in the UK.

As a comparison, there are 164 tigers in Oklahoma, USA in USDA licensed facilities (10). The human population of Oklahoma is 3,687,05 (2009). The population of the UK is 61,838,154 (2009). There is a call for a ban on pet tigers in the USA especially after the recent gruesome killing of wildcats and other animals kept in a private facility. There is also a call to end the trade in generic tigers in the USA.

Note: Mr Joe Exotic has a big cat private zoo in Oklahoma. There are 176 tigers and I don't know how many ligers (lion/tiger hybrid) and lions at this zoo. I must presume that he is unlicensed as his zoo alone accounts for more than the total population of tigers in Oklahoma.


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