Bill could mean more tigers for John Ball Zoo

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — John Ball Zoo may soon see tiger cubs.

A bill introduced by Sen. Rick Jones last month would allow zoos that are part of the American Association of Zoo and Aquariums to breed large animals, like John Ball Zoo’s Amur tigers.

Michigan previously banned the breeding of large carnivores in an attempt to prevent roadside attractions, animal abuse and inbreeding.

However under this measure, five Michigan zoos would be given clearance to breed large carnivores to protect the species, including John Ball Zoo and Binder Park Zoo in Battle Creek.

“This is important for the zoo because we participate with 230 other institutions throughout the state and internationally that manage endangered species such as the Amur tigers that we have here at the zoo,” said Andy McIntyre, chief administrative officer for John Ball Zoo.

McIntyre said breeding is important to maintain genetic diversity.

Senate Bill 658 would also allow breeding of lions, cheetahs, leopards, jaguars and several types of bears.

The bill has moved to the Senate Agriculture Committee for consideration.

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