Activists are trying to free these four, mistreated tigers.
Four white tigers living in Houston, Texas have been housed in an aquarium since 2005 and have not been outside in almost 12 years. Activists have had enough with the mistreatment of these beautiful creatures and are calling for the tigers to finally be moved.
To make matters worse, the “Downtown Aquarium” in Houston where the tigers are held is an aquarium-themed restaurant where a constant stream of customers ogle the tigers, bothering them as they move through the tourist attraction before enjoying a meal. Restaurants are even less likely to care about the well-being of the animals, and call into question their experience in animal husbandry.
Opponents of the aquarium have made a horrible, but true, claim: that the tigers have not felt the sun since they arrived in Houston. What’s worse is that they have gone so far as to suspect that the tigers have never felt the sun, since they were bred in captivity as well. Their only time outside would have been spent in shipping carriers.
The enclosure they reside in consists of small pools, all concrete floors and walls, and toys to keep them busy. When Nero, Coral, Reef, and Marina aren’t on display, they spend their time in a holding area that looks more like a prison cell and is also made up of concrete. Dr. Jennifer Conrad, a veterinarian with the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF), said in a statement,
“The dungeon-like conditions that the tigers are forced to endure at Houston’s Downtown Aquarium harm their physical health and psychological well being, and deny them much that is natural and important to a tiger.”
The ALDF has already served the aquarium and its corporate owner with a notice of intent sue over the poor conditions that the tigers are living in. If the aquarium does not agree to their terms, which is to allow the ALDF to relocate the tigers and move them to a big cat sanctuary, then the organization will sue the company due to violations of the Endangered Species Act.
“It is cruel to confine complex, roaming carnivores such as tigers to a tiny, dark, artificial, unenriched enclosure where they never see any daylight, much less bask in sunshine,” Conrad continued in her statement. “[They] are at risk for serious long-term, debilitating injuries from being forced to live on slippery, unyielding concrete their entire lives.”
Thus far, the Downtown Aquarium has claimed that their skylights provide sufficient natural light and that their tigers receive “enrichment opportunities” everyday. After 12 years in this enclosure that offers no vegetation, hiding spaces, or outdoor space, as specified in the Association of Zoos & Aquarium’s guidelines, the tigers have already been exhibiting signs of stress and psychological damage for years.
It looks as though the aquarium does not plan to go down without a fight, though for the sake of the tigers most are hoping that they lose. If you want to help these tigers in their rehoming, you can sign this petition.