How many tigers in private hands?
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November/December 2011:
How many large carnivores are in private hands in the U.S.?
There are no comprehensive lists of most species. Guesstimates
commonly hold that there are more tigers alone, just in Texas, than
the 3,200 tigers remaining in the wild, or at least more than the
1,400 tigers still in the wild in India.
Computer systems analyst Linda Howard in 2005-2006 told ANIMAL
PEOPLE that she had collated data from a variety of sources showing
that the U.S. tiger population was actually only about 2,000, but
Howard shot herself during a July 2006 domestic dispute, before
publishing her inventory, which also included lions and nonhuman
On September 19, 2011 the Feline Conservation Federation
released the findings from a similar collation, which “used the
Freedom of Information Act to gain USDA and state wildlife agency
inventories of all wild cats. The project also worked to identify
non-exhibiting sanctuaries, and non-licensed wild feline owners,”
said executive director Lynn Culver. “The FCF census documented
2,884 tigers,” Culver said, “at 468 facilities.”
Two hundred twenty-six USDA-licensed exhibition facilities “hold
at least 809 tigers,” Culver said, “including the nearly 400 tigers
maintained in American Zoo Association member zoos. Ninety-one
sanctuaries hold 1,544 tigers. At least 22 educational facilities
provide habitat for 68 tigers. The remaining 585 tigers, held by
129 USDA or state licensed entities,” are kept by circuses and other
traveling shows, defunct exhibition venues, breeders, entities
using tigers as mascots, or private individuals.
The FCF released the data in connection with opposing efforts
to end the Generic Tiger Exemption provision which excludes tigers
born in captivity in the U.S. from coverage by the Endangered Species