Proposed bill banning exotic pets threatens Austin Zoo

Lions, leopards, lemurs and monkeys...every animal at the Austin Zoo has been rescued or surrendered. They don't breed, buy or sell animals...and many of the creatures here are older. Two tigers at the zoo are a perfect example. "They were found wandering on the shores of...Lake Travis when they were quite young," said Clark. "When they pass on, we would not be able to rescue additional animals on the list on House Bill 1015." The bill by Texas State Representative Ryan Guillen, a Democrat out of Rio Grande City, bans the individual ownership of leopards, lions, cheetahs, cougars, jaguars, orangutans, gorillas and tigers in counties with populations greater than 75,000 people. Current owners can keep their animals, but would not be allowed to breed or acquire new ones. Clark says the bill will take a bite out of their bottom line. "Everybody is fascinated by the big cats, so if the big cats are not here, the number of people that come obviously diminishes," said Clark. Fewer people means less admission profits. Clark added, "Less admission income means I can't save, we can't save as many animals as we can now."

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