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The Captive Wildlife Crisis

Updated on September 7, 2014

Help End Animal Abuse and Neglect

Large carnivores such as lions, lynx, tigers, bobcats, leopards, jaguars, wolves and bears have been brought into civilization from the wild for entertainment purposes or for zoos and have been bred and profited from for centuries. Now there is a vast surplus of these animals, held in captivity that can never be returned to the wild and have no place to go. In the end they are discarded, cast off, abused, exploited, left in tiny cages, kept and traded illegially grossly neglected, and bred for profit - not Love.

Learn more about the origins of this great tragedy that is happening all around us, and see how you can help end the suffering and abuse of these great creatures.

~The Wild Animal Sanctuary (source of photo)

How The Captive Wildlife Crisis Began

For centuries man has captured wild animals for the purposes of display in zoos or zoo like settings. In the mid 1900's, as zoos became populated and stable, the need to capture animals from the wild was reduced. However, the number of animals in captivity continued to rise as a result of management practices. Some zoos believed that a prolific breeding program demonstrated their success in captive wildlife management while others knew that baby animals bring in more people and therefore more revenue.

Why Large Carnivores Continue To Suffer

Surplus animals, with no regard to their future well being, left the zoos and ended up in the hands of animal traders and private residences. This has created our current captive wildlife crisis. Commercialization, abuse, neglect and rampant breeding of these animals is the result. Today these animals can be found everywhere, from exotic Las Vegas shows, to your truck stop tiger in a cage, from shopping malls to roadside attractions to your neighbors very own back yard.

Currently there are more tigers, in the hands of private individuals being kept as pets in the state of Texas than there are left in the wild

Learn about large carnivores - their biology, conservation and interactions with man through these great books.


What Can Be Done About The Captive Wildlife Crisis?

How can you help end animal abuse and suffering?

Like many other social dilemmas, little was known about this until recently when animals have escaped, died or injured someone. Rescuing all of the unwanted animals will not solve the problem though it will make a difference in the lives of those animals. Education and awareness is where we need to start and the social pressure that an educated public can provide what we need to make changes in how we manage captive wild animals

Here is how you can help:

- Support A Wild Animal Sanctuary (they are the only place these animals can go, read about them below)

- Get Educated about this Crisis and learn how to be Effective (be part of the solution. become proactive in your area and spread the word about Captive Wildlife)

- Support Legislation that will make it illegal to own or breed Wildlife

~ photo source:The Wild Animal Sanctuary

There are estimates as high as 30,000 captive Great Cats, Bears and Wolves living in substandard conditions throughout the United States alone.

The Wild Animal Sanctuary

A safe haven for abused captive wildlife

I first learned of this crisis when visiting the Wild Animal Sanctuary this past November. The Wild Animal Sanctuary, located in eastern Colorado, is one of only 15 sanctuaries that rescues captive large carnivores who have been abused, exploited, abandoned or kept illegally. The Wild Animal Sanctuary is home to over 200 of the most magnificent creatures on this planet. African Lions, Tigers, Jaguars, Leopards, Mountain Lions, Servals, Bobcats, Wolves and Bears. Their goal is to make the life of the animals that have been rescued as close to how it would be if they could choose it, with dignity and respect. They also work to educate the population about the captive wildlife crisis we are currently facing.

The multi species habitats at the sanctuary range from 5 to 25 acres and are quite impressive. From a raised catwalk above the central hub of the center you can look out over all of the enclosures and watch the animals. At the sanctuary you can read each individual animals story, about how they came to be there from a lifetime of captivity and abuse. These stories are truly heart wrenching and I would encourage you to visit the site at - - and read the stories for yourself. Also learn more about this crisis and how we can begin to make a difference and put an end to it.

Share Large Carnivores With Children

Children love animals and large carnivores are always a favorite. Ignight the joy of learning about these fascinating animals with these great books.

Eye Wonder: Big Cats (Eye Wonder)
Eye Wonder: Big Cats (Eye Wonder)

Prowl into the wild and exciting world of big cats. From lounging leopards to the king of beasts, explore the super senses of big cats. A wealth of facts and dramatic photography.

Eyewitness Bear  VHS
Eyewitness Bear VHS

Amazing images and insightful narration provide a great introduction to the bear.


After illegal drugs and weapons, the exotic animal trade is the third largest source of illicit profits in America…and in the world…today!

There have been at least 7 people killed and 31 people injured by tigers in the United States since 1998

Thanks For Visiting - I would Love to hear from you

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    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 7 years ago from United States

      You know I love all animals! This is a very thought provoking lens and of course it is beautiful. Angel Blessed and added to my Squid Angel Mouse Tracks lens.

    • LotusMalas profile image

      LotusMalas 7 years ago

      I never thought about about the birthrate at zoos and the "excess" of animals. Thank you for making this lens!

    • Shibamom LM profile image

      Shibamom LM 7 years ago

      Such an important topic - you did a great job with this lens.

    • HealthfulMD profile image

      Kirsti A. Dyer 7 years ago from Northern California

      Well done. Great information on the Captive Wildlife Crisis.

    • wilddove6 profile image

      wilddove6 7 years ago

      A very important topic, and one that needs to be addressed.

      Thank you for highlighting the issue!

    • profile image

      JFB91 7 years ago

      Terrific information.