Skip to main content

See also:

No tiger selfies allowed

Two month old Sumatran tiger cub.
Two month old Sumatran tiger cub.
Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The latest answer to the question, “What’s pussycat?” is that internet lotharios in New York State are now banned from posing for photos with big cats such as lions and tigers in order to attract mates through online dating sites. According to the bill signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo there can be no direct contact between members of the public and big cats at traveling animal shows and fairs. Any of the wild feline exhibitors would also be fined for each violation.

Advocates for wildlife applaud the measure stating that the increasingly popular practice of (primarily) young men posting photos of themselves with “dangerous predators” online to make themselves look “manly and more attractive to females” is not only hazardous to their own safety, but that of the big cats as well by “encouraging the mistreatment of endangered animals.”

"They breed the cubs, use them for photo-ops, and then when they can't use them they breed more, and discard the ‘old’ cats," stated Carole Baskin, founder and CEO of Big Cat Rescue, a Tampa, Florida sanctuary that has more than 100 big cats. "Taking the cub away is a misery to the cub and the mother, and the cubs aren't fed properly. They don't sell tiger milk at the pet store."

Baskin also noted that similar legislation has already been passed in Arizona, Mississippi and Kansas, where a 17-year old high school girl was killed while posing with a tiger for her senior photos in 2005. It is now hoped that more states will follow suit.

Although several New York legislators, including Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthnal (D-Manhattan) admitted to never having heard of “tiger selfies” before reviewing the bill, they said they considered it to be a life-threatening issue for both humans and the animals being abused just to make a profit, and had no second thoughts about voting for it.