US strengthens protections for captive tigers

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration is moving to strengthen protections for captive tigers under the Endangered Species Act.

The Fish and Wildlife Service is finalizing a rule declaring that “generic” tigers held in backyards and private breeding facilities are no longer exempt from permitting requirements that apply to purebred tigers at large zoos. Generic tigers are of unknown genetic backgrounds or crosses between different subspecies.

Wildlife experts estimate that as many as 5,000 tigers are being held in private animal parks and other facilities — 10 times as many as reside in accredited zoos.

The new rule requires anyone selling tigers across state lines to obtain a permit or register with federal wildlife authorities.

Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe said the rule should help reduce illegal trafficking in tigers.

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