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.

--PT

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.

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