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Born to be wild: captive cats taste freedom

Ever wondered how lions and tigers are being prepped for the wild after living in captivity? This is Europe's largest rehabilitation center for these big cats.

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The most inhumane thing one can do to these wonderful animals is to keep them as pets. It is pretentious to think you can take their surroundings just for your fun.

It’s been estimated that upwards of 10,000 big cats like tigers, lions and cougars are kept captive in the U.S. by private owners. The exact number is a mystery because few records are kept. What we do know is that these animals should never be kept as pets.

Most captive big cats are kept where they shouldn’t be: in backyards and roadside zoos. People are often not able to manage these wild animals once they’re fully grown. Consequently, the animals are poorly fed, and left to spend their entire lives in cages with barely enough room to move. 

Not only is this inhumane, it also is a great threat to public safety. Since 2003, IFAW has come to the rescue of over 150 big cats along with many other displaced, unwanted, and abused captive wildlife.

In addition to responding to these urgent situations, IFAW works diligently with the U.S. big cat sanctuary community to support the life-time care of these animals once they are placed in qualified, reputable facilities.