Heal Our Planet Earth
CARE Tour - 1
Compassion for Animals Road Expeditions #1
Aquarium owner looking to bring in more wild life
2/17/2004 8:18 AM
Aquarium owner Tilman Fertitta says the tigers will be a first-class attraction for his restaurant and the downtown area in general. But not everyone agrees it’s so humane.
In a restaurant already filled with exotic ocean animals, Fertitta is hoping to go a step further with the addition of five white tigers. They’re the same kind of animals that attract hordes of tourists in Las Vegas.
"I think it would bring a lot of excitement," said Jim Prappas, Aquarium Restaurant.
Those at the aquarium say the animals would make their restaurant, and therefore downtown Houston, a more attractive destination for tourists and conventions, as well as Houstonians.
But don't try telling that to Tiger Preservationist Anthony Marr.
"To keep five tigers for entertainment is not within the realm of acceptability," he said.
Marr has led three tiger-saving expeditions in rural India and championed the rights of dwindling species. He opposes the idea of bringing white tigers to the Aquarium, mainly because of the way they're bred.
Because white-tigers are such a genetic rarity, animal traders often inbreed them with family members to increase the likelihood of a baby white tiger.
"Inbreed to the point where it causes genetic defects," said Marr.
Meanwhile, Aquarium officials respond by saying humane treatment is
their first and foremost priority, along with raising awareness of the
plight of endangered animals among those who go to their restaurants.
But the Aquarium could face opponents with far more authority in
Houston than animal conservationists. Some city officials argue that
tigers in the downtown area violates a number of city ordinances.