Stop Exploiting Lion & Tiger Cubs!
This petition made change with 8,517 supporters!
At Kalahari Resorts, lion & tiger cubs are dying for photos.
For over 10 years, the popular U.S. resort chain has contracted with exotic animal breeders, even those convicted of animal abuse and wildlife trafficking, in order to provide live lion & tiger cubs to their resorts. These cruel exhibitors breed the cubs, rip them from their mothers shortly after birth, and then bring them to the lobbies of Kalahari's Wisconsin Dells and Sandusky, Ohio locations, where they are displayed like merchandise in a tiny, closet-sized glass enclosure until families pay $50 to pet or take a photo with them.
Because the cubs' immune systems are not fully developed, the intense stress and exposure from constant handling puts them at great risk for disease or fatality. Kalahari's barren glass "habitat" and prolonged photo sessions leave the animals unable to regulate their sleep patterns, which further damages their growth. Repeated rough handling and exposure to bright flashbulbs causes some of them to develop permanent vision and limb problems.
To ensure that customers get a good photo, exhibitors physically manhandle the cubs -- some so small their eyes have barely opened -- to force them to "pose", often by stressing the cub so much that it stops resisting. Videos taken in Kalahari's lobbies show heartbreaking abuse. I'll never forget the screams of the terrified, 6-week-old tiger cub being forced to interact with paying customers at a Kalahari. When he tries to leave the photo display area, a handler grabs him and pulls him back. When guests touch him, he shrinks back in fear. He is unable to sleep, roam, play, or do anything that is natural to him. Other videos show handlers at Kalahari swinging cubs through the air, pushing on their heads, blowing in their faces, and smacking them in the nose with frisbees, plastic bags, and other objects -- all for the sake of profit.
For many cubs, this is just the beginning of a lifetime of abuse.
Under U.S. law, baby big cats may only come in contact with the public when they are between the ages of 8 to 12 weeks. After that 4-week window is over, the cubs are of no further use to the exhibitors. So, at just three months old, most of Kalahari's "photo cubs" are discarded into the wildlife trade. They may be sold as exotic pets, dumped at roadside zoos, or even slaughtered for their meat and hides.
The exhibitors which Kalahari contracts with have long, documented histories of animal abuse and wildlife crime. The man who brings lion cubs to the Sandusky, Ohio resort has racked up many violations of the Animal Welfare Act, and there are reports that he sells lions to be butchered in the profitable exotic meat trade. Meanwhile, in Wisconsin Dells, guests can pet baby tiger cubs courtesy of a convicted animal trafficker who has sold bears to Asian medicinal markets and tigers to animal slaughter rings. During a sting operation, federal agents saw several of his old photo prop cubs being shot in trailers, hung from meat hooks, and skinned in the largest commercial slaughter of endangered tigers in the United States. Yet Kalahari continues to eagerly support and promote not only this criminal's tiger breeding business, but also his private zoo, which the resort claims is a "refuge" and "sanctuary!"
By continuing to welcome these unethical exhibitors, Kalahari Resorts is directly responsible for the exploitation, dumping, and slaughter of hundreds of endangered big cats.
These reprehensible displays must stop now.
By signing this petition, you'll tell Kalahari that these endangered cubs belong with their mothers -- not in resort lobbies. What's more, until these cruel displays are stopped, you'll be vacationing with a more responsible company!
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