Tiger Breeder looks at Eastern Idaho for his facility

There are elk farms, and now a tiger breeder wants to build a facility in Eastern Idaho. Unlike elk, to which Idaho’s Department of Agriculture hands out permits like politicians hand out brochures, the Dept. is fighting this and the proponent fighting the denial of a permit in court.

Tiger breeder eyes Idaho. Jackson Hole Star Tribune.





  1. Robert Hoskins Avatar
    Robert Hoskins

    Wild feline pens are notorious for their failure to hold the cats. There was one near the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill when I was a student there in the 70s. I visited it often. It was run by a zoology professor at UNC. It finally got closed down because lions kept getting out.
    Now imagine what a few roaming alien tigers could do to alien livestock in Idaho. It might not be such a bad idea after all

  2. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    About 15 years ago, Idaho (not many miles from where I live) had the infamous Ligertown lion breakout.

    Of course, this was a pitiful, poorly built and poorly fed, roadside ramshakle.

    There were rumors, I find at least one case plausible, that for several years thereafter some hunters saw an African lion.

  3. Catbestland Avatar

    Are there lots of cows between Idaho Falls and Blackfoot? If so, I say let him do it.

  4. Monty Avatar

    Recently Russia set aside two new national parks in an effort to save the 300 or 400 wild Siberian tigers. If there is no tiger habitat left, breeding captive tigers is nothing more than producing “tame animals” that will rapidly breed themselves out of house & home. Currently there is an estimated 10,000 captive tigers in the country. Orginally there were 7 subspecies of tigers, 3 are now extinct.

  5. Howard Avatar

    Just an interesting note about Renzo acquiring white Bengal tigers… white tigers have absolutely no real conservation value. I do not know anything about Renzo or his foundation, and I am absolutely not saying that he is insincere or doesn’t do anything useful for Siberian tigers, I just wanted to make a point about white tigers, since people often hear about even excellent, AZA accredited zoos involved with breeding the “rare white Bengal tiger”. White tigers are not a subspecies, they are a very rare mutation. A true white tiger is not an albino, it is leucistic, with blue eyes and dark foot pads. They are extremely beautiful, of course, and there is aesthetic and cultural value in maintaining captive white tigers, but white individuals are useless to the species for conservation purposes. Again, the white tiger is a mutation, and in the wild, a white tiger cub would most likely be the first of the litter to be seen and picked off by a jackal, dhole, wolf, hyena, leopard, or male tiger. Even if it did somehow survive to adulthood, it would be at an extreme disadvantage trying to stalk prey. Again, this is not a jab at Renzo per se, just a note that attempts to preserve white tigers are perfectly justifiable on cultural grounds, but is by far the least important of the efforts to protect and preserve the tiger species.

  6. Howard Avatar

    Monty makes an excellent point about tiger conservation: captive tigers breed prolifically, and tigers are not endangered of being wiped off the face of the Earth… there is a very real danger of WILD tigers being wiped out, and if habitat continues to be destroyed, tigers will remain on this earth as captive “tame animals”. The value of captive breeding varies with subspecies… it is extremely important for the Chinese tiger with fewer than 100 total animals left in the world, and least important for the Bengal, of which there is no shortage of breeding captive animals. Whether captive born tigers could be successfully reintroduced into the wilds of Asia is intriguing, and of course, the question is completely moot if there’s no habitat left to release them into. There was an experiment in South Africa (undertaken by a private organization, not the government of South Africa) in which captive born Bengal tigers were taught to hunt wild prey, and they did become capable of feeding themselves on blesbok and ostriches. There was, naturally, a great deal of controversy over the value of training captive tigers to live wild…on the wrong continent. The proponents maintained that the important point was that captive born tigers could learn to hunt wild prey and live wild. I’m not sure what ever happened to that project. Regarding the three extinct subspecies, there are occasionally reports of the Caspian tiger in northern Iran, but most scientists are extremely pessimistic that any tigers survive in western Asia. The case of the Caspian tiger is particularly tragic since it originally had the widest range of any tiger, from the Caucasian region into Turkey, east through central Asia to Mongolia and western China.

  7. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Thanks Howard,

    Your knowledge makes it easier for people to evaluate proposals like this.

  8. Peter Kiermeir Avatar

    Do not be too optimistic ! There is an absolute danger that WILD tiger will be extinct within the span of a few years. In India, with a formidable tiger programme in progress, and many albeit rather small sanctuaries their “official” numbers are simply given wrong – with many sanctuaries already empty of tigers (and leopards), habitat loss (still) and poaching the main reasons! And…..Russia, the poachers heaven, the hunters delight, where a National Park does mean nothing……Hundreds of dead animals go into china every year whose so called “medicine” uses almost any animal or part of it to “strengthen their sloppy noodles”.

  9. Howard Avatar

    I’m not optimistic about wild tigers as all. Unless things change greatly, and very soon, a handful of “wild” tigers will exist in a few well protected and highly publicized parks and preserves…and that may be too optimistic. I’m told Indian tiger experts laugh when they hear estimates of 3,000 + wild tigers in their country. China has tried farming tigers, but instead of pressure being taken off wild tigers, the demand for specifically wild tiger skyrocketed…apparently wild tiger is more potent than farm-raised, and because it is more expensive, wild tiger parts are luxury and status items in some circles. Same thing happened with bear gall, which is why bears are still poached for their gall bladders in Asia and North America despite the many commercial “bear farms” in China.

  10. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E

    As for training captive animals to live wild the Mexican wolf would be a good example. There are challenges and some real concerns. For example how to also instill the concept that humans are not necessarily your friend (from the animals point of view)

  11. Heather Avatar

    “Now imagine what a few roaming alien tigers could do to alien livestock in Idaho. It might not be such a bad idea after all”

    leave some room for the wolves to roam and howl!

  12. Peter Kiermeier Avatar

    Howard, maybe this is a link for you: Have a look at the webpage of the Wildlifeinstitute of India http://www.wii.gov.in for the 2008 report on the “Status of Tigers , co-predators and prey in India”

  13. Monty Avatar

    If I had to list my favorite wild creature in the world, it would be the tiger. It is true that there is not much to be optimistic about when it comes to saving wild lands & creatures, they are all under threat. But in regards to the RUssian (tiger) national parks that were established in 2007, this shows that there is some political support for the tiger and there are still abundant wild lands remaining in eastern Russia. One can only hope that there are enough Russians who care enough to suppor this effort.

  14. Monty Avatar

    Kiermeier: Thanks for the web site, I read parts of the 164 page report. And maybe there is a ray of hope for the Indian tiger. The simple question that faces all humans on this earth–that may never be asked or acknowledged– is: “if humans can’t survive on 80 to 90 percent of the productive lands on this planet, how will the remaing 10 to 20 percent save us?”. Where do humans go when 100% of this planet is urbanized or in agriculture production? Until recently, humans co-evolved with the myraid of planitery lifeforms and now we are in the process of driving many species to extinction because of the belief that we can breed & consume ourselves in an earthly paradise.

  15. Peter Kiermeier Avatar

    Monty, I have another fine link for you, try …..http://www.indianwildlifeportal.com
    gives you a wealth of info about wildlife sanctuaries and national parks in india. Have fun!


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

Subscribe to get new posts right in your Inbox

Ralph Maughan