Officials at the John Ball Zoo in Grand Rapids are calling on the Michigan Legislature to amend the state’s current Large Carnivore Act. Zoo CEO Peter D’Arienzo tells Michigan News Network it currently prevents the breeding of animals over 35 pounds, like cats and bears. Last year, they had to send their male tigers to out-of-state zoos because of the law.
“You can only breed in order to ensure the genetic diversity of the species, and it’s really heartbreaking because some of these animals in the wild are critically endangered,” D’Arienzo said.
He says the amendment would include strict criteria, like that zoos must take proper care of the animals, keep the public safe and prove they’re doing it for a scientific reason.