Tayla the tiger
Tayla is a symbol for all the tigers and lions held in captivity for the entertainment sector. In Thailand alone, some 1,500 tigers are held in captivity for entertainment of tourists. That's half of all the wild tigers in the world. Young cubs are taken away from their mother after only 2 weeks after birth and put in cages or chains. Tourists then can take a selfie with these tigers, or pet and cuddle them. That may seem like fun, but what many people don't know is that these animals are being mistreated, beaten, starved or locked up to ensure that they obey. Hundreds of times a day they are touched by tourists, which causes enormous stress for these animals. They live in small concrete cages, sometimes even with hardly any water or food.
But not only in the tourism industry tigers and other big cats are exploited. Especially in Africa and Asia there is a high demand for 'traditional medicine', made from big cats. Tigers and lions are locked up all their lives to end up as a pill or drink. However, there is no evidence for the effectiveness of these medicine. Yet hundreds of lions and tigers are kept in small, bare cages and in some cases are given only the minimal care to stay alive. With depressed and stressed animals as a result.
While a ban on captive breeding from Thai authorities would be a significant step towards ending the suffering of tigers, we can all do our part for tigers. Remember, if a tiger is performing tricks or is allowing you to take a selfie with them at an attraction, they have suffered abuse. Be a responsible tourist and walk away. Tigers are wildlife – not entertainers or medicine. Let’s end the cycle of suffering and make this the last generation of tigers bred into a lifetime of abuse.