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Great Cat Crisis in America
The appeal of the magnificent, great cats is alluring and spell binding to most people. Man has had an affinity with these wonderful and mystifying creatures for thousands of years in most cultures. Images of lions, tigers and cougars have always represented royalty, courage, strength, and dignity as they have been respected, feared and admired. No wonder in today's generation of materialism in this country that wanting to own one of these magnificent animals has become an all too easy reality.

The result of this phenomena is that breeders are producing great cats in record numbers to fill a growing demand. Lion or tiger cubs can be bought for as little as $300 from the back of pickup trucks, at flea markets, in bar parking lots, etc.; anywhere a quick impulse buy from a naive consumer might occur. The result is that today in the United States, it is estimated that there are more tigers (for example) owned as pets, housed in trailers, backyards, basements, etc., than are left alive in the wild. The number of tigers alone is projected at over ten thousand, which does not account for lions, cougars, or leopards.

The problem is great cats were never intended to be pets. Very few people have the time, space, finances, and commitment it takes to own one. Consider that the cute ball of fur most people acquire, in the case of a tiger for example, at 12 months old will be a 100 pound animal capable of inflicting serious damage in play. It will most like weigh over 300 lbs. within another twelve months, requiring a covered enclosure that should be 20 feet by 40 by 10 feet tall, not to mention that it will eat eight to ten lbs. of meat a day. Turn your back on this animal and it may be the last thing you ever do; not because it would want to harm you, but because as it jumped on your back in play (which is its natural instinct), chances for your survival are not good. Sometime in its third year, the cub will become an adolescent and its personality will permanently change as it becomes what it was born to be; an animal that get want it wants on impulse. Then it will need a safe place to stay for the remainder of its lifespan which is somewhere around 20 to 25 years in captivity.

What happens when that cute little cub that liked to suck your finger like a pacifier becomes 400 lbs. and eats 10 lbs. a meat a day. That is the main problem. Most people who acquire a big cat don't think this far ahead. For most, it was an impulsive decision or a following through of a half-baked dream. The result either way is one more crisis with which the sanctuaries who are set us to help these animals have to deal or the poor animal ends up spending the rest of its life in a small cage hidden away in someone's back lot or basement.

The other side of this coin, is this type of demand also draws some people into this industry who only want to make money. Unfortunately, we read all too regularly about the incredible abuse some animals have undergone, living in cramped, squalid conditions due to unscrupulous breeders only out to make a buck.
The naive purchaser who creates the demand is ultimately responsible for the problem, so it is very important to educate people as to the pitfalls of exotic cat ownership.

Stopping this growing trend is one of the goals of PrideRock. If there was never another animal in crisis that needed placement, that would be our dream come true. You can help us educate as many people as possible by talking about this problem with your friends and by getting them to visit our web site. We sincerely appreciate your interest and support.

Article compliments of Pride Rock ... Click here


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