– A SHORT HISTORY
Agency: U. S. Department of Interior
The Animal Welfare
Act of 1966 was amended to include all warm-blooded
animals (tigers now covered) used in exhibition or
sold as pets. Coverage expanded to animal exhibitors
(i.e. circuses, zoos and roadside shows).
US Fish and
Wildlife Service (FWS) delegates standards and
enforcement of the Act to the US Department of
Agriculture (USDA) who issue the Exhibitors License.
This license legitimized backyard breeding and has
probably caused more tigers to die than all the
poachers in China.
Endangered Species Act of 1973
enacted to prevent the extinction of wildlife and plants. It
basically said that any US citizen had to get a permit to do
anything with endangered species: import, export, take (meaning
harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound,
kill, trap, capture, or collect),
or engage in interstate or foreign commerce.
Captive-Bred Wildlife (CBW) regulations allow prohibited activities
for non-native endangered species born in captivity in the US which enhance the survival of
with the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS)
is required to get CBW permit.
Registrants required to maintain written records, and report annually to FWS -
for live animals only.
There were no activities permitted
for dead animals, in order to prevent breeding endangered species for
1998 - September 11, a bad day for
Proposed removal of Generic Tiger
Loophole because of concern for deteriorating
conservation status of wild tigers.
Lack of registration and reporting
seen as potential contributor to illegal trade.
Comment period got 15,127 public
responses, mostly in favor of removing the loophole.
Comments arguing against the
removal are from breeders, exhibitors, private owners and participants
in the exotic pet trade.
WHAT HAS BEEN ACCOMPLISHED?
combination of the USDA giving away licenses and FWS deleting generic
tigers from reporting requirements accelerated the breeding binge that
began in the 1980s and continues to this day. The supply of cheap,
unregulated tigers to exhibitors is the primary reason we have more
tigers in this country than exist in the wild in the rest of the
WHAT CAN WE DO?
Strengthen and enforce existing laws and enact new
legislation to end the unregulated breeding.
Although focused on tigers, they should be considered a
surrogate for all the big cat captive bred species. The
6 big cat species (tigers, lions, leopards, cougars,
cheetahs, and jaguars) will all benefit from Big Cat
At the moment there are a number of Big Cat initiatives,
some federal and some state level. And while there are a
number of talented and dedicated people and
organizations involved, a consolidated plan has yet to
Some of the initiatives are:
transactions annually and make it available for public
There is a 4 week petting window for tiger cubs. This
allows public interaction with tiger cubs between 8
and 12 weeks old. Close it.
Establish standards for big cat enclosure size, food
and vet care.
Pass laws in the five states that have no laws at all.
Eliminate the Federal exhibitors exemption in state
Prohibit trade in trophy parts.
We urge support these and other initiatives that will
end the unregulated breeding, irresponsible ownership,
public interaction and commercial exploitation. We
believe we can put an end to the abuse, suffering and
premature death of tigers and other big cats.
FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE
A SHORT HISTORY*
The 1970S were golden years for the USFWS Office of
Law Enforcement (OLE). Congress passed the Marine Mammal
Protection Act in 1972, followed by the Endangered
Species Act in 1973.
appointed chief Clark Bavin, known as the J. Edgar
Hoover of FWS, began to turn old-time game wardens into
professional special agents. Wildlife agents found
themselves shipped off to Glynco, Georgia, to receive
fifteen weeks of intensive training in criminal
investigations, firearms, self-defense, and wildlife
law. It was their final evolution from duck cops into a
new breed of investigators.
1977, an all-time high of 220 special agents, trained in
the mode of the FBI, successfully broke the back of the
illegal alligator trade. The timing couldn’t have been
better. The exploitation of wildlife was rapidly rising
as word traveled of the quick and easy money to be made.
agents of OLE felt a heady confidence about taking on
the challenge as protectors of America’s wildlife. They
were now federal agents investigating premeditated and
well-organized criminal acts that just happened to
involve animals. Their numbers were growing and FWS
appeared to be solidly behind their work. They couldn’t
have been more wrong. Though their mission remained the
same, it would all be downhill from there.
FWS is primarily
known as a biological-research agency responsible for
protecting wildlife and its habitats. In a government
body mainly composed of managers and biologists, OLE is
forever getting a smaller piece of the pie. The number
of their agents slowly dwindles, while their
investigative caseload continues to grow. These days OLE
has 195 special agents. That’s down from 220 thirty-five years ago. Take away the number of
supervisory people and there are probably only about 130
field agents in total. And fewer than 20 of them do any
high-level undercover work. By comparison, the FBI has
12,000 special agents. Yet global wildlife crime ranks
just behind drugs and human trafficking in terms of
Jessica Speart in Winged
FWS budget for fiscal year 2016 is $2.9 billion.
The Office of Law
Enforcement's budget is $75 million.
The Multinational Species
Conservation Fund budget is $11 million.
There is an 11 percent Federal excise
tax on guns and ammunition and a 10 percent tax on
handguns. These funds are collected from the gun
manufacturers by the Department of the Treasury and are
apportioned each year to the States by the Department of
In 2015 this amounted to __________
Amount spent on the captive bred wildlife problem is $ 0
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