Born Free USA united with Animal Protection Institute

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August 29, 2011

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Help Protect All Tigers Under the ESA

Dear Friend,

In 1900 there were estimated to be 100,000 wild tigers. Today, fewer than 4,000 remain. Sadly, there are more tigers in captivity in the United States than exist anywhere in the wild — where they belong. And many of the tigers in captivity can be sold, killed or in other ways exploited because of a loophole in the Endangered Species Act.

After much pressure, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing to close this loophole! Please take a minute today to tell the FWS that you support its proposal to rescind the "generic tiger exemption." The deadline for comments is Wednesday, Sept. 21.

Since its promulgation 13 years ago, the "generic tiger exemption" has left us in the dark. The majority of tiger dealers in the United States have had free reign to cruelly exploit their tigers with virtually no oversight, and it has been next to impossible to determine the fate of thousands of tigers kept in certain unaccredited breeding operations.

Tigers are considered "generic" largely because they often are inbred and cross-bred in order to generate cubs for photo opportunities. Once the cubs grow up and the breeding pairs grow older or too difficult to handle, the lack of a paper trail makes it far too easy for unscrupulous "owners" to abuse and kill these tigers and even sell their parts without detection. This further fuels the illegal trade in tiger products, one of the leading and most dire threats to wild tiger populations today.

Please commend FWS for its proposal to rescind the "generic tiger exemption" today. Feel free to use this sample language:

As a member of Born Free USA, I strongly support the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposal to remove the "generic tiger exemption."

By removing "generic" subspecies from the list of animals exempt from registration under the Captive-Bred Wildlife (CBW) regulations, USFWS will close a dangerous loophole that allows people to keep these tigers without even applying for a permit. This loophole has put thousands of captive-bred tigers in danger of being further exploited with virtually no oversight.

I am especially concerned that the "generic tiger exemption" makes it nearly impossible for law enforcement to regulate the number of tigers in the United States and prosecute ESA violations such as the illegal trade in tiger parts, one of the leading threats to wild tiger populations today. I strongly support this proposal as a strong step toward protecting the fewer than 4,000 tigers who exist in the wild, as well as the many more tigers held in captivity, today.

For the animals,

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P.S. Born Free is on the ground in tiger range states such as India working to stop poaching, protect tiger habitat, and rescue tigers in need. Learn more through our partners in England.

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