When visitors tour Carson Springs Wildlife Conservation Foundation, they get a bit of an education about animals in addition to admiring the tigers, tortoises, lions, lemurs, hyenas and many more creatures.
Among the lessons stressed by Christine Janks, who founded Carson Springs with husband Barry, is not to patronize animal facilities that offer an opportunity — for a price — to pet and photograph tiger cubs.
The kittens may be starved to keep them under the 40-pound regulatory limit as long as possible, and once they reach that size, agencies that regulate wildlife have no system for tracking what ultimately becomes of the tigers.
“I think (the petting) is becoming less and less because the public is becoming educated about it, so they don’t support it. And the state laws have tightened up,” Janks said. “It does happen in Florida. They do have tiger petting, which I wish they didn’t. Tigers can live 20 years. Who’s going to spend $5,000 a year to care for a tiger?”