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DiCaprio Wants You to Take Action for Captive Big Cats

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The current article you are reading does not reflect the views of the current editors and contributors of the new Ecorazzi

Actor and philanthropist, Leonardo DiCaprio, has spoken out again over the dangers of privately owned large cats, and the animal cruelty it often leads to.

DiCaprio had been very vocal on this topic in October 2011, after the tragic killing of more than 50 escaped exotic animals from a backyard menagerie near Zanesville, OH, and is re-voicing his concerns again now.

Using twitter and facebook, the actor has warned about the Zanesville tragedy and how restrictions and bans need to be put into place in order to prevent this from happening again.  “Tigers, lions and cougars are kept as pets in the U.S. in alarming numbers…often leading to mistreatment and cruelty towards the animals themselves, but also diminishing big cat conservation around the world,” Leonardo posted on his facebook wall. He added, “Let’s prevent another Zanesville, Ohio tragic incident from happening again and take action to ban private ownership of big cats in the US.”

He also posted a link on twitter to a prepared letter to members of Congress, stating “Big cats like tigers & lions belong in the wild, not in people’s backyards & basements. Take action!” Well said, Leo!

Photo Credit: Featureflash / Shutterstock.com

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  • Tony Price

    I disagree with DiCaprio’s views on many things, but on this subject I agree unreservedly. I’ve read that there are more tigers in private collections in the state of Texas alone, than in the wild. It’s a national disgrace. There are some “freedoms” that need to be abolished, and keeping wild animals for amusement or financial gain is one of them.

  • Fogle

    totally agree with this. It also believe certain marine life belong in the wild not in an aquarium not even 1/16 the size of their natural habitat. all for shutting down all the sea worlds if it means all the orcas, dolphins, dolphins, and so on get to return to thier natural habitat to do what they werent meant to do hunt, live in pods and migrate

  • Fogle

    meant dolphins, sharks and so on sorry for the repeat

  • naomi cohen

    thank you, leonardo. you heart is in the right place.

  • Veronica

    Fact: Zoos created this mess in regards to dangerous exotic animals being used for commercial breeding. This happened due to over breeding their animals and not having the facilities to keep them once they were past the cute stage that attracts foot traffic through their gates. They have a sales list that allows all AZA members that includes brokers and some commercial breeders to buy these animals when other zoos are not interested in purchasing them. Some commercial breeders had two litters per year and they did not care who they sold these animals too. This is how these exotics were now being privately owned.

    If you believe that the sanctuaries that you support are credentialed and professionally run; that is a myth also. Many of these exotic animal sanctuaries were created to support their privately owned exotic animals at taxpayers expense and of course they receive all those donations from the public. If you believe that these sanctuaries are safer than a zoo; you are wrong again – zoos do not allow volunteers to have any type of direct contact with dangerous exotic animals and sanctuaries use volunteers to avoid having to pay salaries to credential, trained and experienced staff. Zoos are required to report any incidents of injury to any employee. Sanctuaries are exempt from reporting volunteer injuries to OSHA or any state labor board.

    Sanctuary owners and their volunteers and perhaps 1+ staff members do not have a background check. So those who may have had felonies and/or convictions for animal abuse or neglect or even had previous incidents of an animal attack that either bitten, mauled a minor child could in fact still obtain a USDA license and own and operate a n exotic animal sanctuary.

    Statistically, dangerous exotic animals owned in the private sector have 1 fatality a year; a far cry from what the media has been claiming. Fact: Over 95% of responsible private animal owners are financially responsible compared to many sanctuaries. Many sanctuaries are going to be failing due to lack of donations and their over extending themselves financially because they have too many animals in their collection. Sanctuaries and zoos have a larger population of dangerous exotic animals and shouldn’t we be raising the standards with those having a higher risk for something such as Ligertown or Zanesville. Realize that the Zanesville incident does not represent the average private owner as this place was USDA licensed and had lost their license to continue operations as a roadside zoo.

    I do not own any dangerous exotic animals and to grab our pitch forks and torches to eradicate exotic animal ownerships may mean the destruction of these animals that you love and admire. We may become witnesses to an animal holocaust. Owners may go underground, others will be releasing them and we do not have enough true sanctuaries out there to take all of these beautiful creatures in, our legislatures are rushing bills through without full understanding of all the players. It is time to know “Who are Rescuing the Rescued”. Once again majority of those Exotic animals that you are pointing at and saying they should be free were not taken from the wild, but were captive bred animals that directly goes back to the Zoos and Commercial Breeders. Want to stop this then ban the breeding; make the zoos responsible in not overbreeding animals. Support WildAid…even if we have a 100% release rate then where can these animals go? Their country of origin are the problem and will continue to be a problem due to pressures within their ecosystem – human population increase, deforestation and increase in agriculture as well as their social ideas of using animal parts for adornment and medicines not too mention the market for the animals body parts that is very lucrative and ensures their personal survival.

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