• February 3, 2014

Found: An Unusually Large House Cat

When I research photos for the National Geographic Found Tumblr, I’m often looking for images that inspire more questions or slightly alter the way you see history and reality. When I stumbled across Michael “Nick” Nichols’ 1996 image of a Siberian tiger cub in a playpen, a hundred questions immediately jumped into my head. Where was this cub, and who put it in a playpen? Music video shots of rapper “Tyga’s” mansion with a tiger cub in the corner of a room started to play in my mind.

Nichols is a staff photographer and editor at large at National Geographic magazine who has been photographing endangered species for well over 20 years. I spoke with him and asked him to tell me more about this yawning snowy white cub.

Picture of white Tiger cub in playpen crib
A white Bengal tiger cub in a child’s play-pen, which is being used as a bed. Arkansas, 1996.

JANNA DOTSCHKAL: Tell me the story behind this photo—why was the cub in the playpen?

NICK NICHOLS: This tiger cub’s name was either Sarge or Major. Betty Young is the name of the lady who had these tigers in Arkansas. Betty started to adopt and ended up with 52 tigers, which was complete madness. She became more and more controversial. I photographed her home in ‘96. She has good intentions and really loves tigers. She would adopt them from bad situations during the cocaine craze. People who shouldn’t have tigers had them as pets, so she would rescue them. I went there during what I call my “Year of the Tiger,” when I was trying to shoot tigers in all kinds of situations. I wanted to tell the world everything you could about tigers.

Picture of tigers in a cage back yard
Most of Betty Young’s tigers were discarded by unthinking owners who found that their 400-pound pets demanded up to 5,000 pounds of raw meat a year. Arkansas, 1996.

People might think: “What a cute picture!” when in reality the house was a mess and the crib was torn to bits. This guy was a kitten and could bite you, really hurt you. I knew the whole situation was going to be bizarre.

Tigers are solitary cats. They’re not made to live together. The only time when they do is when they’re cubs. Places like this are very surreal but they can also be dangerous and very emotional. People look at tigers like they’re house cats. Many captive tigers, especially ones used for entertainment, have their teeth pulled and are declawed. They still look like a tiger but they don’t have their tools.

Picture of woman playing with tiger cub
Betty Young plays with one of 52 tigers at her ten-acre compound. Arkansas, 1996.

DOTSCHKAL: What role do captive tigers play in conservation?

NICHOLS: The most important thing in tiger conservation is habitat preservation. Then prey-based preservation. There really is no conservation value to these private homes and captive tigers. Homes like Betty’s are a product of the fact that we have let tigers into the system and they ultimately need to be treated morally and humanely. One of the biggest issues for me is that we shouldn’t let exotic pets breed. It’s a huge mistake – you’re just making more of something that already isn’t good. There’s just no way a predator can live that close to humans.

Picture of white tiger in zoo india
A male white tiger endures life in a zoo in Bhopal, the capital of Madya Pradesh in India.

Despite what some people believe, we’re not in danger of lions or tigers going extinct. You’d have to set off a nuke to do that. We will always have captive specimens. What is at play is the lives of wild tigers and lions. We’re losing them in critical habitats. We all want them to be there, in natural habitats. When you’re in the wild with a tiger, you can feel its presence. It’s the most incredible creature I’ve ever been around. In captivity, they lose that magic.

Picture of tigers behind chain link fence
Young tigers behind a wire fence in India.

If I make photographs and they’re ironic enough then maybe they will speak to people. If we put the money spent on exotic pets and entertainment into preserving tiger’s natural habitats, that might change things a bit. It’s a conundrum that we’re in. All I can do is make photos and present them.

Why does anybody need to have a pet tiger? I want them all to be wild and free. The real way to see a tiger is a glimpse through the bushes.

Picture of tiger running
A captive young tiger runs across the grass on Tiger Island at Marine World in California.

View more of Michael “Nick” Nichols’ work on his website and hear him talk about his life as a National Geographic photographer in a recent video interview.

Follow Janna Dotschkal on Twitter and Instagram.

National Geographic is working to avert the extinction of lions, tigers, and other big cats with the Big Cats Initiativea comprehensive program that supports innovative projects. Learn how you can help save these animals.

There are 78 Comments. Add Yours.

  1. Rashmikant Mehta
    January 26, 2015

    I love nature

  2. Imran Ahmed
    May 17, 2014

    If only we knew how important these Animals were for us then none of them would have been endangered or would have been in the stage of getting endangered.

  3. jovo
    April 28, 2014

    amazing story- and now who cam tell taht cars is’t not the best friends of man adn not so dangerous like people think

  4. Ron LaRue
    April 16, 2014

    The cats always touch my heart. Instilling so much fear as they possess unmatched physical ability… Yet possessing so much love that is so very apparent. Nice. God bless.

  5. rocky chaudhry
    March 20, 2014

    Let them be free folks

  6. El Coyote
    March 7, 2014

    For her not to have been ripped to shreds, in some incident over the years (like when two male tigers got territorial and aggressive), is a miracle – or simply a matter of a highly unusual electromagnetic field, her aura, which must have transmitted such a strong sense of compassion-respect-admiration-fearsomeness-bravery-caring, that the tigers picked up on it the day each one of them was taken to her care. What an awe-inspiring representative of the human race – someone for whom even Jasmine from the Andromeda Galaxy would have been willing to ‘borrow’ her company’s warp-drive ship so she could come and meet her. RIP

  7. Jay Wohlert
    February 28, 2014

    UPDATE: Betty Young passed away on Wed. 2/26 at a friends house after battling cancer. She was an amazing woman who loved her cats more than any person. The world has lost a wealth of knowledge with Betty’s passing. I will miss the long and entertaining conversations we had. I wish I could have helped her more in the last couple years. She wasn’t the easiest person to get along with, but that was just a part of what made her special. Her love for those cats was unsurpassed by anyone I have met, and I’ve met a lot. RIP Betty.

  8. Augustina
    February 28, 2014

    The lack of self, makes humans wan t to own and control that what is free and has a clear identity.

  9. Victoria
    February 22, 2014

    Tigers are such beautiful animals, why do people keep such beautiful yet fierce creatures in captivity? Tigers and other animals should be able to be free.

  10. Wendy
    February 19, 2014

    I have a lovely old couger that lives in the woods around my place, and to see it brings peace to my Soul. To see something so wonderful is God’s way of saying, Yes the World should go on leave them be. Cazy man trys to own everything. Sorry to say you can’t truly own anything that is Wild it will be always Wild never truly TAME. They are made that way and there lovely just the way they are FREE.

  11. Jim Fletcher
    February 17, 2014

    People want tigers as pets because they are one of the most beautiful animals on Earth. Fortunately, only a few people are both rich and stupid enough to actually acquire one.

    It would be really cool to own a tiger, but I’m neither rich nor stupid enough to actually get one.

    I’ve been to the Exotic Feline Foundation in Texas, where they take animals from rich fools who either wise up or get jailed (because their livelihood is illegal). It’s wonderful work that they do, and even the “tamed” tigers are magnificent animals.

  12. r
    February 14, 2014

    At least in Canada the laws are very restrictive on who can own/import wild animals. Only zoos. Game farms take the leftovers from zoos. So glad those laws exist.

  13. Dominic Chan
    February 12, 2014

    The tigers look more like cats than tigers… If they are well fed, then tigers are docile animals just like kitties. I like that picture of the cubby pulling the bed spread.

  14. El Coyote
    February 11, 2014

    A message to the Human Race on Earth – from Jasmine, on a Neptune-size planet near the centre of Andromeda Galaxy (2.54M light years away): “Stop multiplying like rabbits and landing like locust. Get back down to one billion humans for the planet and erase your presence from the original habitats of all the most magnificent creatures (like tigers) of your animal kingdom. A bonus: it might give you a chance to survive the consequences of global warming and the inevitable, the next ice age. But based on everything we have observed, it is extremely likely you will NOT survive – and will be just a footnote in the annals of the Universe: the Human Species, given a paradise of a planet and a millenia to evolve, failed to take advantage of a sizeable brain and instead annihilated an entire planet – because of breathtaking stupidity and unparalleled species arrogance. What a shame!”

  15. Vedfolnir
    February 10, 2014

    many thanks 🙂

  16. Anna Miller
    February 10, 2014

    Great to bring attention to the plight of tigers again. Most of these tigers cannot be released to the wild because raised in captivity and declawed. I question the notion that only wild species are in danger. I believe there are species of tigers that are completely extinct. Not even seen in zoos. But I agree that working for habitats is the best use of resources.

  17. colleen
    February 10, 2014

    What has become of Betty? Clearly she has a good heart but in a not so good situation. Perhaps she can rescue them and then place them in facilities equip to handle large cats. Not that I think zoo’s a great but these poor tigers were born in captivity and unfortunately there isn’t a wild alternative for them. Very sad. God bless sweet Betty.

    • Jay Wohlert
      February 10, 2014

      Betty is suffering. She had to sell everything she owned so she could get some medical help. It’s a tragedy for her. Not a good ending. She has cancer and was put in a facility last I heard from her. Betty cared about those cats more than anyone can imagine. I’m furious with National Tiger Sanctuary in Branson for leading her on for years, promising to help, telling her to wait, then doing nothing to help her. There was a National Geographic Wild show called Animal Interventions, The Tiger Lady episode where you can see them promising to help Betty. They even sued Betty in the end. Watch out for NTS.
      They are heartless and and only willing to help if it’s profitable for them.
      I don’t see a good end to what’s going on there either.

  18. Megan Ekblad
    February 10, 2014

    After reading your article I googled “buy a tiger on-line” and I’m stunned to see how many ads there are! How is it possible that this is allowed? In my opinion buying an exotic pet, especially one that has the potential to kill you, is insane and cruel. I have to wonder why any normal person would feel the need to do this. Love them; buy a stuffed toy. Did anyone read the news story about the two small boys strangled by a python in New Brunswick? The owner should be charged with murder, the snake was just being a snake. Really how stupid can you get?

  19. Jennifer
    February 9, 2014

    I agree with Nick. No wild animal, especially tigers, should be kept as pets. The only people who should keep and care for captive tigers are those specifically trained to do so. People who treat it like a tiger, and not just a big kitty. Conservation starts with the animals’ habitat and resources. Save the land, then release the tigers back where they belong.

  20. Sandy Wilt
    February 9, 2014

    I am happy that you are telling this to the world . I hope this has a great impact to help the tigers story.
    Thank you!

  21. Abimael
    February 9, 2014

    This magnificent creature should be in the wild, not with this lady , she is trying to do good but intend she is harming them, went she die how is going to take over, that why my lord say in the Scriptures that he is going to destroy does that have destroy nature’s

  22. Margie
    February 9, 2014

    When ignorant people declaw and take their teeth out – how do tigers eat?

  23. Phyllis
    February 9, 2014

    Let’s work to save these beautiful cat’s habitat. Man needs to let wild animals alone.

  24. Rhys Walkley
    February 9, 2014

    A genealogist of “white” tigers early 1970-l990s, Iloved calling USA fromAustralia and discussing white tiger politics, forced breeding, name repetition,feeding, Mohan and Tony’s offspring and new cubs and sales exchanges with Betty and send my love from Seaford, Australia and best wishes to her: a stirling job done with difficult breeders. Oh! If we only could tell the true stories!!.I was always a poor fan. She was the star.

  25. kodi41
    February 9, 2014

    Why in the world would you even consider owning a tiger? Seriously, 400 lbs of uncontrolled terror in your mist- are you simply stupid or more often then not a control freak? These cats are as big as they are because of nature, and because of this are not docile critters as a dog or domesticated cats are. Simply wrong – and should not be allowed- any where in the USA.

  26. Jan
    February 9, 2014

    Although I realize this woman has a tender spot for the tigers. She is keeping them alive. I agree the big cats need to be in the wild. What they need in this particular situation is a place they can go to reintroduce them to the wild.

  27. Kalen
    February 9, 2014

    I love tigers. I grew up wanting to be a tiger. I wrote stories about a girl who could shape shift into animals. I wanted their strength, beauty, power, pride, brilliance. Once I figured that would never happened I just wanted to have a tiger. To be in their presence and absorb their essence. I wanted to connect to them in some way to learn from them. I asked my parents as a gift to “buy” me a tiger by donating to the conservation of their habitats. They thought that was silly and told me to use my own money. Eventually I will make that happen. I still have a dream of creating a bond with a tiger. More than just the average person looking through a glass enclosure. I want to hold and pet one, establish a physical bond which is the best display of love. That is why until I read this article and these comments I still wanted a pet tiger.

  28. LadyTam
    February 9, 2014

    Such beautiful creatures! I too don’t see the reason for keeping something that large and naturally vicious as a pet. :/ We have tiger-striped house-cats. Isn’t that close enough? And the pulled-teeth, de-clawing thing makes me incredibly angry! Poor things…

  29. Kathy Humphrey
    February 9, 2014

    Is anyone trying to help this woman in Arkansas and, consequently her tigers? Can’t another rescue program help?

  30. mario t. reoyan
    February 9, 2014

    to miss betty , i thank her for taking care, to love this tigers…… god bless her.

  31. El Coyote
    February 9, 2014

    If we had shown the slightest bit of compassion and respect to other species – both animal and plant – on our planet, there would be only one billion of us (if we had done everything absolutely perfect, the planet might have been able to sustain almost 2 billion). We are at seven, so our species has been removed from the list of intelligent
    beings – list, that covers the entire Virgo Supercluster (the Universe within 100 million light years). The fact that we have – during wars, massacres, genocides, crusades, jihads, rebellions, conflicts, murders – killed 4 billion of our own species, and seriously wounded another 8 billion, has not gone unnoticed. In the galaxies’ planetary data base, our planet has a huge warning sign to all space travellers: DO NOT ENTER. The Planet Tellus is famous, throughout the galaxies, as the home for a species with an extremely high viciousness rating – the humans. Unlucky tigers, and a million other species, who ended up on a planet that includes us.

  32. Lynn Bootes
    February 9, 2014

    Sincere , well-meaning people rescue and shelter these tigers and spend their hours and treasure on them. Sociopathic jerks and impulsive people who come into money breed and buy them. The world will be a better place if we ever figure out how to prevent or control this trait in humans. But these folks are not likely to see this article. Short of that, the rest of us can refuse to go to concerts or events featuring such people. Refuse to give them your business and tell them why. Make it uncool and disgusting. It has worked for furs. It is working for orcas.

  33. Любовь
    February 9, 2014

    Очень грустный расскази положение этих великолепных животных в неволе.Ни кто бы не хотел что бы ограничивали его свободу,а вот животных можно,такое не уважение к природе,должно быть наказуемо!

  34. Diane
    February 9, 2014

    It’s all about protecting habitat and the real problem is that there are are TOO MANY PEOPLE. Unless that issue is resolved, we can only slow the process but eventually we will ruin this planet. When I see all these well-meaning environmentalists trying so hard, I just think well it’s nice to slow down the damage but ultimately it’s hopeless. We cannot police our population growth.

  35. Rajkumar Oberoi
    February 9, 2014

    It is thrilling to spot a tiger in jungle. My sincere wish is to free all the cats in captivity, zoo captivity can be rotational between open environment & captivity.

  36. Denise
    February 9, 2014

    People must stop interfering with the natural habitats of all creatures. We’re destroying the rain forests, turning green space into strip malls and housing developments, then complain because deer are eating our expensive landscaping. Changes in agriculture have reduced the number of birds and other wildlife. Not only are we destroying the earth for the animals, but for ourselves as well. The only living creature that could become completely extinct and have no adverse effect on the earth is man.

  37. Rudolph.A.Furtado
    February 9, 2014

    I am from India and the rapid habitat destruction of wild tigers is creating a man v/s animal conflict as well as poaching.The tigers kept as pets akin to cats or in zoo’s can never ever be compared to the tigers found in the wild forests of India.Most National Parks in India do not have a population of tigers as large as this unbelievable collection of Betty.Young.

  38. Pierre Senemaud
    February 9, 2014

    Tigers , the most beautiful creatures on earth…

  39. Srn
    February 9, 2014

    How can I help?

    • Jana Wood
      February 9, 2014

      Anyone who wants to help Betty’s tigers, or any of the other animals at Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge, please visit http://www.turpentinecreek.org. There are several ways you can help. You can make a donation, join us for a volunteer day, or even tackle a group project. I go whenever I can. There are no words to adequately describe how rewarding it is.

  40. jorge a garibelo peralta
    February 8, 2014

    Si en 15 o 20 años seguimos destruyendo los habitats, los unicos tigres y animales que veran nuestros hijos seran en estas y mas fotos,¿Si seremos capaces como raza”inteligente de detener tanta destruccion?yo pienso que no,y que la propia naturaleza nos esta guardando un espacio ,o un momento para sacar del camino a los humanos,he dicho….

  41. amor
    February 7, 2014

    if we want to save these beautiful cats,then we need to save their habitat and we could start by saving our forest and reforestration

  42. Carolann
    February 6, 2014

    I think that we humans should leave these wild animals be. They do not need our help to survive. And it is not right to take them out of their natural habitats.

  43. Andre T
    February 6, 2014

    wow, thats a huge one
    its rare to found that kind of cats

  44. steve eck
    February 5, 2014

    Everyone misses the real problem for all animals on earth,,,,Too many people

  45. Wing Kong
    February 5, 2014

    I totally agreed with this statement written by the author and photograper here, ” We all want them to be there, in natural habitats. When you’re in the wild with a tiger, you can feel its presence. It’s the most incredible creature I’ve ever been around. In captivity, they lose that magic.” Like my pet dog, he doesn’t play or move as happily, freely as at outdoor.

  46. James Denton
    February 5, 2014

    we need to guarantee a protected wild haven to continue to have wild tigers –eco tourism can fund it once it is developed–saving tigers in the wild is saving the planet and it saves us all these “rescued” tigers could be worked to see if they can re-enter a wild environment or be used for a natural breeding program

  47. Susan bean
    February 5, 2014

    I love big cats please send more pictures thank you I enjoyed the storyies

  48. Iris Taylor
    February 5, 2014

    I love all the big cats & feel that anyone who truly loves them would want them to be happy & living free in their own natural environment, not in a cage or house, no matter how good the intentions of the carer.

  49. Patricia Vollman
    February 5, 2014

    I agree about the wild animals and this is for all creatures. They are not cage nor chain creatures, we were given them to help us in some instances not to abuse them. As for domesticated animals ,we have gone too far and the numbers of dogs and cats that are running rampant without decent homes or food is appalling. Look at the abandoned numbers in shelters, and on the streets. Betty had the place in her heart but not the help to back her up. Too bad.

  50. William Lander R.N.
    February 4, 2014

    These beautiful animals do not belong in people’s homes as pets, they are predatory animals and the instinct to hunt is 100s of 1000s of years old in these animals. Even their long lost distant cousins the house cat, has those instincts. How many of you have ever been nipped or scratched by a house cat. Imagine that by times 4000, you are their food. They eat in excess of 5000 lbs. of raw meat a year when they are full grown. If you are asleep and they are hungry and its dark in your house…well….I will spare you the rest. Stop these animals from being put down because morons put them in their houses. The lady who took in 52, God bless her, but, I am sure she knows what she is doing and she shouldn’t have 52 predators in her midst. I agree with preserves and even well regulated Zoos that are trying to keep these beautiful dangerous creatures from disappearing from the Earth forever.

  51. Tor Bertin
    February 4, 2014

    Just a point of clarification:

    The white tiger phenotype is in fact a variant of the Bengal tiger, and not of the Siberian / Amur tiger, whose populations are more restricted, and only native to a section of Russia and China.

  52. Jana Wood
    February 4, 2014

    Update on Betty Young… Her health began to decline in 2012, and by 2013, all of her animals were relocated by a team led by Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge in Eureka Springs, Ark. There were only about 34 tigers surviving when this effort began, and I think 29 of them still live at Turpentine. The remainder were taken by other big cat refuges around the country. The ones at Turpentine live in beautiful habitats separate from the other cats to insulate them from public contact because their contact with humans was very limited prior to living at Turpentine. TCWR is a beautiful place with talented caregivers. They will live out their lives in happiness. While tigers may only live 7-8 years in the wild, it is quite common for them to live to be more than 20 years old at TCWR.

  53. john
    February 4, 2014

    another act of human selfishness. might as well hang their heads on the wall and skin on the floor

  54. Ellice Dane
    February 4, 2014

    let the tigers go

  55. Maria Harris
    February 4, 2014

    No question that they are beautiful animals. They are also very smart, cunning predators. Old story: Woman was walking in the snow & found a snake dying in the cold. She picked it up, put it in her coat & started home with it. As the snake warmed up it bit her. As she lay dying in the snow she asked the snake: Why did you bite me? The snakes reply was: You knew I was a snake when you picked me up. People need to keep this in mind that this is why no one should have any predatory cat as a pet. No matter how someone may take care of them they are still a predator & tigers in particular are one of most smart & dangerous predatory cats in the world. No one should ever have them as a pet!

  56. Jay Wohlert
    February 4, 2014

    Unfortunately, the story does about Betty does not have a happy ending. She ended up getting screwed by National Tiger Sanctuary in Branson, had to have Turpentine Creek come in and take all of her cats. She now has cancer and is not doing well. She loved her cats (and other animals) and is heartbroken about the whole thing. If you can please help Betty, she’s lost everything. Here is her facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/betty.young.319452?fref=ts

  57. Evee
    February 4, 2014

    These cats are now housed at a different sanctuary in Arkansas; Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge. Betty was no longer able to care for them, and now 26 of that cats have been relocated. They had to build an entire bank of new enclosures just to house them appropriately and are still taking donations to get even more of the cats out of their quarentine cages and into large, multi-acre habitats. While she was trying to do the right thing, these animals take an enormous amount of time, manpower, land, and money to care for properly, and she just wasn’t able to manage it anymore. If you want to help these cats, donate to TCWR. They’re a legit, non-breeding rescue facility that is run by staff trained for exotic animal care. They also have a huge intern program. http://www.turpentinecreek.org/http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=by2X_cMkdMA

  58. Kelly Farrell
    February 4, 2014

    Actually, Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge rescued Betty Young’s animals last year. Her health was failing and the facility had fallen into disrepair. Several of the animals had health issues and their quality of life there was poor. You can read the article about it here: http://turpentinecreek.org/index.php/news-desk-3/211-turpentine-creek-in-midst-of-enormous-big-cat-rescue-effort

  59. Dan Gremmler
    February 4, 2014

    I want one as a pet. I’m just not stupid enough to do it. If it didn’t kill me, it would the animal. People aren’t nearly as smart as we give ourselves credit for. You might say we’ve “declawed ourselves” (mentally/emotionally) in “first world countries.”

  60. Lallili
    February 4, 2014

    Animals will soon stop suffering, in just a little while longer they will enjoy the kind of life they once had when they were first created. Thank goodness there are good people out there, even if we are the minority that care about them, wild, domestic. I can not wait!

  61. Karen S.
    February 4, 2014

    I love tigers in the wild, but I have to give Betty some credit; the tigers in the yard with her look well fed, comfortable with each other and with her. 52 Tigers are much more than a handful, but something in her soul the tigers can sense is unconditional love something they were not feeling as so-called ‘pets.’ I hope Betty gets the help she needs to care for these beautiful creatures.

  62. Ron Lisnet
    February 4, 2014

    I’ve often thought there is a way to garner support for big cats in the wild. There are so many high school, college and professional sports teams named after big cats. Presumably they use those names to emulate the characteristics of these cats- cunning, strength, smarts etc. All are traits to be admired. If all of these teams wanted to truly honor these creatures why not try to leverage all of these school to raise money to preserve their natural habitats and preserve the traits that we all admire so much? Traits that these teams are constantly striving to reach? It seems to be a natural pairing worth exploring. There has to be thousands of teams out there named after tigers, lions, panthers and jaguars. It’s almost a built-in base of supporters who, if properly led could make a huge difference.

  63. jessica
    February 4, 2014

    I love it, my dream

  64. jim
    February 4, 2014

    Great article. Thanks for speaking up on behalf of wild tigers and tigers in captivity. I think we need to start looking at species independently to determine if they can thrive in captivity at zoos and aquariums or if they can thrive as pets. There are certain species which clearly suffer in captivity; dolphins (including orcas), roaring cats, cheetahs, elephants, etc are all animals that suffer in captivity. Only on large preserves would they be able to thrive. I think there are some tigers who are pets that may be thriving; these are exceptions and would have been hand raised since they were very young, by biologists or people who are highly knowledgeable and who have significant time and resources to devote to the tiger. In any event, homo sapiens need to learn to accept that most species are incapable of thriving outside of their natural environments; anyone who observes nature long enough, arrives at this conclusion. Even my felis domesticus requires significant lifestyle adjustments and commitment of time and resources on my part in order for her to thrive. Declawing a cat of any size is a sign of failure to thrive.

  65. muriel
    February 4, 2014


  66. jacqueline thomas
    February 4, 2014

    i love tigers

  67. Jean Lehmann
    February 4, 2014

    Your photos are all fantastic. It does make me sad to think people who have tigers as pets. I’d like to see them in their own environment, too. Thank you for supporting and promoting such a great cause.

  68. J.W. Graham
    February 4, 2014

    I love Tigers. Near Sedona, AZ is Tiger show we go see everytime we go to Phoenix. Beautiful pics! Why wouldn’t one not want to have a tiger cub?! 🙂

  69. Juan Garcia
    February 4, 2014

    Couldn’t the question “Why does anybody need to have a pet tiger?” be applied to all pets. Why does anybody need a pet dog like a Chihuahua? Why does anybody need to have a pet? It’s better for tigers to be thriving in captivity than extinct and gone forever. I wonder how the wild places are going to be 50 years from now.

    • Janna Dotschkal
      February 4, 2014

      I think the key difference is that tigers are dangerous predators. Dogs and cats are less of a hazard and more suited to the home environment. Tigers are not truly thriving in captivity because they do not have enough space or the ability to hunt. It would be unfortunate to keep investing in captive tigers when we really can protect their habitats.

  70. Lori Williams
    February 4, 2014

    What wonderful pictures. Thank you for sharing the story behind them. While I appreciate the intent of people like Betty, it’s clear rescued tigers (and other wild creatures) need to be in the hands of professionals who can give them appropriate care. I completely agree with your statement: “Why does anybody need to have a pet tiger? I want them all to be wild and free. The real way to see a tiger is a glimpse through the bushes.” Humans need to learn to live and let live when it comes to the wild species of our planet. The variety of life is what makes this world special.

  71. Viki
    February 4, 2014

    The classics once said: the human race is evil, stupid and crime. This statement is useful for those people, who have to have tigers as pets.

  72. Lily
    February 4, 2014

    The pictures are amazing!

  73. Carola Flatten
    February 4, 2014

    Great Pictures and even more important story. Most people will probably see just the cute cubs, which is rather natural. Although it might seem obvious, you have to take a closer look to see the whole story and the irony.

  74. Miguel Rodriguez
    February 3, 2014

    As simple as that. There’s not a single one valid reason to justify the fact of use money and weak laws to own exotic animals as pets. As biologist, I love all kind of life form, but I will never think to have an exotic animal as pet.
    I understand that natural habitats for many species are disappearing all over the world under the pressure of a growing population. I even understand how complex is the protection and preservation of wild habitats (including how poor is our knowledge about the exquisite relation between each organism and their enviroment).
    But what I find hard to understand is “Why does anybody need to have a pet tiger?”.

  75. Patricia Beth Schlosser
    February 3, 2014

    beautiful creatures

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