Washington, D.C. - 28 September 2023 - In the first case under the Big Cat Public Safety Act, yesterday a Texas couple was charged for selling protected wildlife, including an attempt to sell a jaguar cub.
“Thanks to the Big Cat Public Safety Act and federal wildlife protections, these imperiled animals have been spared from the dangerous and inhumane exotic pet trade,” said Carson Barylak, policy campaign manager with the International Fund for Animal Welfare. “Through our rescue work, IFAW and our sanctuary partners have seen time and again how brutal a life captive big cats and other wild species face when left in unqualified hands. We applaud enforcement officials for reaching this important milestone to protect wildlife and people alike.”
The Big Cat Public Safety Act (BCPSA) was signed into law in late 2022, in a historic step toward safeguarding captive big cats nationwide. This measure prohibits the private ownership of tigers, lions, leopards and other big cats as “pets” while also restricting dangerous contact between members of the public and these apex predators.
Prior to the BCPSA’s historic enactment, the U.S. trade in captive big cats was largely unregulated, making it impossible to know just how many of these animals were held in backyards, basements and private menageries. Tigers, lions and other big cats are often denied proper veterinary care, nutrition, enrichment and space in such circumstances. The BCPSA has made captive wildlife and communities safer by reining in the deadly trade in these iconic species.
With only about 173,000 jaguars left in the wild, they are considered near threatened, by the IUCN and listed as endangered under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. Continued, effective enforcement of the BCPSA will help to protect captive jaguars and other big cat species while safeguarding their wild counterparts.