Wild feline census 2021

The Feline Conservation Foundation is pleased to announce we have funded this independently conducted research by Rachel Garner of Garner Research & Consulting to produce an updated census count of big cats housed in licensed facilities in the United States.

It is critically important that when we discuss changing laws or regulations we all start from a common factual basis. The status of wild cats in captivity has changed drastically over the past two decades, and working from outdated information can lead to unintentional negative outcomes.

This objective, independent, and peer-reviewed research project is the only one of its kind, undertaking a broad assessment across the industry. The FCF is proud to have funded this unique and important study.

Abstract: No comprehensive assessment of the populations of big cats in federally regulated facilities in the United States is currently available. Concerns about big cat use are increasingly of strong public interest and the lack of data about their number and distribution has ramifications impacting zoological industry function, conservation programs, rescue work, and legislation. In this work a dataset has been compiled using publicly available USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) records and direct information requests. The resulting census was derived from the animal inventories listed on inspection records for all 2272 facilities with animal exhibition licenses. The total number of big cats in federally regulated facilities is on the order of 4100 animals and appears to be declining.

Click here to see full paper.