We rescue captive big cats, like lions, tigers, and cougars – animals who are at risk. And we’re working to ban the private ownership of big cats in the US.
In the United States, there are as many as 10,000 big cats in captivity.
These animals are at risk for abuse and often live in terrible conditions: in private hands, menageries masquerading as rescue sanctuaries, and at unqualified roadside zoos operating with little oversight or accountability.
When big cats are surrendered or confiscated, rescue operations kick into gear to transfer the cats to qualified sanctuaries. But for too long, many sanctuaries had to turn cats away.
Working alone, sanctuaries didn’t have enough resources to rescue all the cats in need. But working together, they’re able to do more.
So we established a network. In 2017, legitimate sanctuaries—those that don’t buy, breed, sell, exploit or trade animals—formed the Big Cat Sanctuary Alliance.
Now, when cats are surrendered to sanctuaries that can’t place them, the sanctuaries contact each other or IFAW's hotline, and within hours, the cats have homes.
As we rescue big cats in need across the U.S., we are also working to rein in the U.S. trade in captive exotic felines by advancing the Big Cat Public Safety Act, federal legislation that would end the private ownership of big cats.