Commission approves final rule prohibiting the sale, purchase of big cats

Published 1:00 pm Thursday, July 13, 2023

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Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks Commissioners voted to approve a final rule prohibiting the sale or purchase of animals classified as inherently dangerous to humans Thursday morning. Charles Knight, director of the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science, said there would be no new permits issued for transfers of big cats in the state under the rule. 

All current owners of big cats such as lions, jaguars and tigers must register their animals with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service by or before June 18, 2023.  The update to Mississippi’s rule aligns the regulations with federal law known as the Big Cat Public Safety Act. 

Knight said they did not have any public comments submitted for the rule change. He added there are some people in Mississippi who do own big cats and would be affected by the rule change. 

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“There are some big cats out there who just have to be registered. Some are in private zoos or individually owned,” Knight said. “We work with the United States Department of Agriculture to inspect the facilities and monitor how they are being kept.”