What if I want to keep a tiger as a pet in India?


I have a huge palatial house with a massive garden. Can I please have a tiger as a pet? I love tigers...

Tigers are royal and beautiful. The gait with which they walk through the jungles is a class apart. Their cubs are overloaded with cuteness. Have you never wanted to get those chubby playful cubs back from a safari?

Wishful thinking! Well, that's about it. We will have to leave these adorable animals back in the jungles.  

Had this been a question coming from a curious five-year old, it would have been fun explaining how tigers need to live in their natural habitat -- their home. Just the way, as civilised beings, we cannot adjust in the jungles or on the streets. 

However, this article is in reply to those tens and tens of questions asked by 'tigers lovers' on social media! Let us give an apt to reply with truck loads of logic to all those and just nip it in the bud. 

Indian Tiger

Legally, India does not allow private ownership of endangered species including Tigers.  Ownership of tigers is forbidden unless the person has a certificate of ownership for a wild animal he or she was already in possession on or before the commencement of the wildlife protection law, which was enacted in 1972.

Interestingly, one of the Indian state ministers also had the same view! That tigers should be allowed as pets so that people can take care of them. Undoubtedly, the minister faced a lot of flak.

Law is not the only deterrent!

Say, tomorrow, law were to permit you to have a tiger as a pet. Here is why you would still not be able to afford it! 
About 20-60 kilometres territory
Prey animals for its kill
Another tiger companion for mating
Hence, another 20-60 kilometers territory....(contd.) 

 

Imagine, the law of the land were to permit tigers as pets, what all would you need to keep the,? 

  • About 20-60 kilometers territory.
  • Prey animals for its kill.
  • Another tiger companion for mating.
  • Hence, another 20-60 kilometers territory.
  • More prey animals for the new tiger's kill.
  • Security.
  • Security for the tiger from poachers. The above mentioned security was for you from two ferocious tigers!
  • A veterinarian doctor.

Don't be sad as yet. In case, you really want to 'own' a tiger, you can adopt a tiger at a zoo. That is the closest that we can think of getting you to 'having' a tiger.

Have you watched Life of Pi? Do you remember what happens in the end? The tiger walks away from its 'best friend'! That was the best it could have done. Big cats are very powerful and humans are like dolls to them. There is no way you can overpower a big cat. Also, cats, in general are destructive by nature. So, beware.  

As far as the wild royal tigers are concerned, they wish to breathe free in the jungles. And, lead a life without any threat from anyone of us -- over enthusiastic tiger lovers to Facebook photographers to poachers. They have been happy without us and they will continue to value the distance that we can keep from them. 

How can I still somehow get a tiger as a pet in India?

Thick-skinned, eh? Get yourself a dog and name it tiger. Congratulations!

Do you know of anyone who legally owns a tiger? Do let us know. 

Photo Credit: Pixabay GIF Credit: Giphy

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