Largest Population of Tigers in America

The Tiger

Largest Population of Tigers in America

Tigers are incredible creatures. With their unique stripes, expert hunting skills and fierce personalities, it’s easy to see why so many people fall in love with these animals. In fact, you can find tigers in books, children’s shows and even theatre productions. The Tiger Who Came to Tea is currently touring the UK and is one of the best things to do in Liverpool for families. But did you know that many tigers are also kept as pets?

Indeed, experts predict that there are more tigers in captivity in the United States than there are in the wild. According to The World Wildlife Fund (WWF), around 5,000 of these big cats are currently being kept in America, although animal welfare experts say precise numbers are hard to find. This figure compares to the roughly 3,900 wild tigers left in the wild.

Where are the Tigers Being Kept?

Tigers live in a range of environments from rainforests and swamps to grasslands. Amur tigers can even thrive in harsh environments where extremely low temperatures and snow are common. These striped beasts have been discovered roaming free anywhere from the Russian Far East to parts of North Korea, China, India and Southwest Asia, as well as the Indonesian island of Sumatra. Most of the tigers in the US, however, are held in backyards, breeding facilities and at small theme parks or roadside attractions. Only about 6% are being kept at accredited zoos, the WWF group says.

Do You Need Permission to Own a Tiger in the US?

Keeping tigers in captivity is a very controversial topic. Many people keep tigers in their own back gardens. And believe it or not, it’s surprisingly easy to do so in some parts of the US. According to Big Cat Rescue:

  • 4 states have no law on keeping dangerous wild animals as pets - Alabama, Nevada, North Carolina and Wisconsin.
  • 6 states do not ban or regulate keeping big cats as pets - Alabama, Nevada, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Delaware and Oklahoma.
  • 12 states ban all dangerous exotic pets, while the rest allow certain species or require permits.
  • 35 states ban keeping big cats as pets, with varying exemptions, requirements and levels of enforcement.

With laws as flexible as this, it’s perhaps no wonder that the tiger population in the US is significant. Almost anyone in certain regions is allowed to own, breed and sell tigers as highlighted in the recent Netflix documentary, The Tiger King.
All tigers should be well cared for and treated with the utmost respect and, thankfully, a total ban on the international trade in tiger parts and products was put in place in 1975.

If you want to celebrate your love of tigers in a less controversial way, head to the Liverpool Playhouse to watch The Tiger Who Came to Tea live on stage. It’s one of the best kids activities in Liverpool, so book your tickets today and join in the fun.


'This Tiger is the cat's meow'

The Times


'Perfectly pitched adaptation'

Daily Telegraph


'A delight from start to finish'

Time Out