Feline Conservation Federation Comments on New Jersey "Tiger Tracking" Bill S3061

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“Bills such as S3061, sponsored by Senator Raymond Lesniak, are unnecessary,” says Feline Conservation Federation executive director Lynn Culver. "USDA licensed zoological institutions are already required to identify their animal holdings, and already maintain birth, death, acquisition, and disposition records, and make them available for state and federal inspection and tracking.”

Begnal tiger face close up

Bengal tigers are conserved by state and federally licensed facilities

According to Culver, “Senate Bill 3061 is a feel-good bill to solve a problem that does not exist.”

Feline Conservation Federation (FCF) the nation’s largest organization devoted to wild feline husbandry and conservation, has examined New Jersey Senate Bill 3061, which creates new regulations, and registration and reporting requirements for tiger owners, and found the bill to be unnecessary, burdensome, and potentially dangerous to the tigers it hopes to protect. According to FCF Executive Director Lynn Culver, “This is a feel-good bill to solve a problem that doesn’t exist.”

Senator Lesniak’s bill was written to prevent the potential for American tiger parts to enter into the illegal medicinal trade. Both TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade watchdog, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, have reported their investigations found no evidence to link U.S. tigers to the black market in domestic or international trade, as live animals, or as parts and products.

Even though it is already a federal felony to sell tiger parts for food or medicine, and there has never been a prosecution of an American selling their tiger to the food and medicine trade, Senator Lesniak wishes to impose additional burdens on the state’s zoos and museums to further discourage them from breaking the law.

Senator Lesniak's bill, S3061, would make it illegal to bury a tiger, would require cubs as young as ten-days-old to be removed from their tiger mother for micro-chipping, and require educational facilities to pay another permit and registration fee to another state government agency.
In 2011, the FCF national feline census identified 2,884 tigers currently residing in the 50 states. The census also found that 95% of tigers are maintained in either state or federally licensed facilities. The Department of Agriculture requires zoos and museums holding tigers to identify their animal holdings, and maintain birth, death, acquisition, and disposition records, and make them available for inspection and tracking. The FCF believes these inspection and reporting requirements already in place are sufficient oversight.

FCF census data shows in the state of New Jersey, six zoos and public museums hold 24 tigers. The USDA Department of Agriculture and the New Jersey Division of Fish, Game and Wildlife, license these tiger exhibitors and inspect their records. Senator Lesniak’s tiger-tracking bill, S3061, would add the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection as another state government agency tracking New Jersey tigers.

According to Culver, “Senate Bill 3061 targets the professional wildlife businesses that base their livelihoods upon educating the public about tiger poaching for medicinal use, and how it is threatening the survival of the tiger species.”

The FCF is against S3061 because it interferes with private property rights, adds permit fees and regulations, and creates another layer of government bureaucracy for zoos and museums, all to stop the non-existent illegal commerce of American tigers.

“The American tiger population is insurance against extinction", says Culver. “ FCF would much prefer to see legislators spend their time and our tax dollars introducing bills that support captive husbandry of endangered species with grants and aid."


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