There may be more captive tigers in the US than wild ones in the rest of the world. But in states like Texas that bristle at government interference, no-one really knows how many are being kept as pets.
According to some estimates, as many as 7,000 tigers are living in the US either in zoos or privately owned. That’s nearly double the estimated 3,890 tigers still prowling in the wild around the world.
Many of America’s tigers could be in people’s backyards as pets, and often aren’t registered, especially in states like Texas. No-one really knows just how many tigers there are out there.
At the heart of this surprising tiger turnout is the very American notion of a God-given right to do one’s own thing, including owning a pet – no matter how exotic – being an individual liberty that the state should not mess with.