Tigers for Sale? INSIDE EDITION Investigates
In his new movie We Bought a Zoo, Matt Damon plays a dad who decides to run a Zoo filled with exotic animals. In reality, in some parts of the country, anyone can buy wild animals including tigers. INSIDE EDITION sent Lisa Guerrero
Tigers are one of the most deadly and ferocious animals on Earth.
Believe it or not, an INSIDE EDITION investigation found it is easier in some states to purchase a tiger than it is to adopt a dog from a shelter.
Inside Edition producer, Charlie Mclravy, found it was as easy as responding to a listing in a catalog called the "Animal Finder's Guide." The ad said: "Tiger Cub, five month old female, well socialized."
The seller, Cy Vierstra, sent Mclravy pictures of a rare white Bengal tiger. The price: $2,700.
McLravy and the INSIDE EDITION I-Squad went to Vierstra's farm in Ohio, where it's perfectly legal to sell tigers, and brought along hidden cameras.
It turned out, Vierstra had three tigers. One was feasting on an ostrich carcass when we arrived.
Vierstra said he has no problem selling the tiger because so many are bred in captivity that it can be easily replaced. "The cats, especially the orange ones, they're a dime a dozen," Vierstra said.
"In terms of payment, how do you want to do it?" asked McLravy.
"Cash or money order," he said.
We showed our hidden camera video to Adam Roberts from the animal advocacy group Born Free.
"These animals don't belong in captivity and they don't make good pets," Roberts said. "It's completely irresponsible. It's completely dangerous. … The fact that it is so easy to sell these animals to a total stranger is pretty astounding but it does happen across the country."
INSIDE EDITION never did buy Vierstra's tiger. Instead, Investigative correspondent Lisa Guerrero caught up with him outside an exotic animal auction in Ohio.
"We'd like to talk to you about the tiger you're selling," Guerrero asked.
"Um, no thanks," Vierstra said.
Actress Tippi Hedren, who founded the Shambala Preserve, a non-profit sanctuary in California, says people have no business making pets out of these kings of the jungle.
"It's a nasty, nasty business," said Hedren.
Hedren and other animal activists are currently pushing Congress to pass a bill that would ban the private ownership of tigers and other exotic cats.
For more information, please visit the Web sites for the Shambala Preserve and Born Free: http://www.shambala.org/
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