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Does Texas Have Its Own Tiger King? More Tigers in Texas Than the Wild

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Netflix has a crowd favorite which has captured much attention: the true-crime documentary series “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness.” The story is an unhinged roller coaster with exotic wildlife at its heart. Joe Exotic, the tiger king who is the main focus of the story, previously owned roughly 200 tigers and other exotic animals at his Oklahoma park. What do you know about privately owned tigers in Texas? And does the Lone Star State have its own Tiger King, for better or worse?

Does Texas Have Its Own Tiger King? More Tigers in Texas Than the Wild

Photo: envato elements

Currently, individual states set their own restrictions on ownership of exotic animals. The federal government can only impose the Endangered Species Act, which invokes oversight to protect species at risk of complete extinction. Additionally, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service works to halt illegal breeding and trading. Alabama, Nevada, North Carolina, and Wisconsin do not have any ban or regulations around exotic animal ownership. Further, it is legal to own a tiger with a permit in Texas, Idaho, Indiana, Delaware, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and South Dakota.

Does Texas Have Its Own Tiger King? More Tigers in Texas Than the Wild

Photo: envato elements

A World Wildlife Fund and the Global Tiger Forum 2016 report found there are 3,890 tigers living in the wild, and 93% of tiger habitat has been destroyed. A published report from 2005 by the Feline Conservation Federation estimates 4,692 tigers in the United States. Per National Geographic in 2019, the number of tigers in captivity within America is likely higher than the number of wild tigers around the world. The outlet claimed there are between 5,000 and 10,000 tigers are in captivity in America. As of 2016, from Feline Conservation released state-by-state numbers, 399 of those tigers were in Texas. Pulitzer Prize winning author Lawrence Wright wrote in his 2018 book “God Save Texas,” “The Humane Society of the United States estimates there are more tigers living in captivity, in Texas, then the 3000 that are thought to be living in the wild.”

Does Texas Have Its Own Tiger King? More Tigers in Texas Than the Wild
Photo: envato elements

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