If Tarzan shouldn’t own big cats, then nobody should

On Monday, several big cats were confiscated from former Tarzan actor Steve Sipek’s compound in Florida. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission seized two tigers and a black leopard, saying Sipek repeatedly failed to correct violations following reports of numerous bites, escapes, improper diet, and inadequate fencing and caging. 

Sipek has had run-ins with FWC officials in the past–in 2004, his 600-pound tiger was shot five times after it escaped from Sipek’s compound and led authorities on a 26-hour chase. Officials said it was time to step in and protect the public and the animals.

Yesterday, I shared the news that Rep. Buck McKeon (R-CA) and Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-CA) introduced the Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act in the House of Representatives, which would prohibit breeding and private possession of captive big cats.  Protecting the public and big cats is exactly what the Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act seeks to do.

Although he may have played the king of the jungle, Sipek is among the thousands of people who own big cats, but have no idea how to properly care for these wild animals. Last year’s tragedy in Zanesville, Ohio is a perfect reminder of the dangers that big cat ownership can present to both animals and humans.

Big protection is needed for these big cats–and the communities where they live. Without it, public safety will be threatened, global big cat conservation efforts will be diminished, and mistreatment and cruelty towards these beautiful animals will continue. Hopefully, Congress will take swift action on the Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act so that we can prevent future tragedies.


The Big Cat and Public Safety Protection Act won't move unless Members of Congress hear from their constituents. Click here to take action and tell your elected representative to support H.R. 4122.

Comments: 7

6 years ago

stop dont hert the cats they didnt do enything

6 years ago

In other articles I have read that there are literally thousands more tigers in domestic captivity, not zoos, or appropriate wildlife parks. If this law is passed, outlawing ahem prohibiting private possession, where will these animals go? Are there sanctuaries in place to receive them? Is there adequate funding for the feeding, and what will prove to be needed medical care? What other animals are in the pipeline for prohibition? Texas has several "hunting ranches" using animals with a very small population in Africa, that are doing very well here, ( I believe Texas has MORE of these Antelopes than Africa...and the ranchers have done very well managing these animals. Personally I would like to see the Texas ranchers keep doing this.

6 years ago

To the question about the ability of Congress to take action against the private possession of big cats, it should be noted that Congress can regulate private activities such as possession of dangerous big cats if it is an important element to regulating the interstate or international commerce in big cats. Recent Supreme Court case law confirms this. The U.S. captive big cat population has grown since Congress tried to prohibit only the interstate commerce in big cats, and that law has rarely been enforced, which shows that further regulation is necessary. The current state-based regulatory system for dangerous big cats just doesn't work. This is a nationwide issue, and needs a nationwide solution.

6 years ago


6 years ago


Plenty of individuals have the knowledge, facilities, and permits to properly keep big cats. I dont keep big cats, but am worried as to where this will end. Will congress ban monkeys next, then reptiles and birdd?

Congress is limited by the constitution, and cannot make laws such as the big cat public safety act, which deal with possession issues. This is why they used interstate commerce wth the first attempt to ban big cats.

Possession of an item is a states issue, becaue the constitution doesnt give congress this power, except by an amendment. This is why it took an amendment to ban alcohol during prohibition. They couldnt just make a law saying no alcohol.

6 years ago

Thank you for getting this important message and bill out to everyone!

6 years ago

I couldn't have said it better myself.

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