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Wild Animals/Tigers in Captivity


Hello for my year twelve research project I am studying the effects of captivity on tigers...
I need to know the  *psychological effects
         *Physical effects
         *Behavioural effects

Dear Billie

Thank you for your question. Please note that captivity affects individual tigers in different ways and that 'captivity' varies from cramped cages in tiger farms to large enclosures including pools and various types of vegetation. This means that you need to consider your project from several different angles as the psychological, physical and behavioural effects of captivity on tigers show many variables.

As this is your research project, I shall list some websites that should be able to help you write your report. I wish to thank the authors of the websites I used.

Leigh Elizabeth Pitsko wrote an extensive report in 2003 ( and, while the information is over 10 years old, much of it should be relevant for your project. mentions an escaped tiger.

Psychologicl effects: Physical effects: You should find the following websites useful:; (this deals with circuses). may also be useful. gives reasons against keeping tigers in zoos.

Physical effects: You should find the following websites useful:; (this deals with circuses). Please note that tiger enclosures can vary greatly in size and content.     

Behavioural effects: A paper by Lambros Petrou and Stavroula Mylona ( details the behaviour of captive tigers. gives an accout of the effects of the zoo environment on tigers. should also be useful.

Please note that you may have problems with distinguishing psychological and behavioural effects, as there wil be a lot of overlap. For example: stress affects behaviour. It may be best to start with the psychological effects and then see how they affect the behaviour.

You should also note that there is a lot of bias in favour of or against zoos. Please try and make your report as objective as you can by looking at the subject from different angles. I have visited several zoos with people who are against the principle of keeping animals in captivity and I find this useful in order to look at the ways zoos affect the welfare of individual animals, rather than just creating a list of the different animals I've sen. I prefer seeing an active, healthy animal in a natural-looking enclosure rather than one that is pacing around in a small, barred enclosure with a concrete floor.   

Good luck with your research project.

All the best


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Jonathan Wright


I can answer questions about wild mammals and other animals, as well as extinct animals and zoos. I am not an expert about every animal species. I can look up information from books and the internet, but can't verify if all the information is true. Please don't ask questions about: 1. Pets. I am not a vet. Please contact a vet if your pet is ill. You may need to spend some money if you want your pet to live. Don't get a pet if you don't know how to look after it and if you can't provide it with the space, food and possible companions that will help it live a healthy life. Don't take animals from the wild, unless they are ill and/or injured and you can protect them until a wildlife charity can help. It is cruel to take animals from their parents, especially if the parents will look for the babies, while putting their other babies at risk. You may be breaking the law by keeping wild animals or you may need a licence to look after some species. Please check with a local wildlife group. 2. Eggs: Please don't remove eggs from nests. The mother birds provide the right temperature for the eggs and won't sit on them if the temperature is warm enough for them to develop naturally. It is illegal to remove eggs of some species and, unless you have an incubator or a broody hen, the egg may not develop. If you are allowed to touch the eggs, you can candle them to see if they are fertile. If theys aren't fertile, they won't hatch. 3. Fights: Please don't ask about fights between different animals. These questions assume that individuals of two species fight each time they meet and that one species will always be victorious over another. This is untrue. There are cases where a live mouse has been fed to a venomous snake, bitten the snake leading to the snake's demise. 4: Diseases: Please ask doctors or other medical experts about diseases that you may catch from animals. I can't advise on how to deal with viruses, bacteria etc.


I have a zoology degree and have been interested in animals since I was two. I am a zoo volunteer at London Zoo. I have appeared on a BBC Radio Quiz, 'Wildbrain'.

WWF. ZSL. Natural History Museum. RSPB. London Bat Group.

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BSC degree in Zoology. 'A' level in Zoology. 'O' Level in Biology.

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