Challenging Landry’s Treatment of Endangered Tigers

The Animal Legal Defense Fund filed a lawsuit against Houston’s Downtown Aquarium and Landry’s Inc., alleging violations of the federal Endangered Species Act due to the conditions in which its four tigers are kept captive.

Updated

December 27, 2018

Work Type

Litigation

Status

Active

Pending construction of a new tiger facility

Next Step

Evaluate new tiger enclosure

In 2017, the Animal Legal Defense Fund filed suit against Houston’s Downtown Aquarium and Landry’s Inc., alleging violations of the federal Endangered Species Act due to the treatment of four tigers, who are kept in substandard conditions, namely an indoor-only facility that lacks access to the outdoors.

The suit was brought on behalf of Houston-area resident Cheryl Conley. It was filed after Landry’s declined the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s 2016 request that the four tigers be transferred to a reputable, accredited sanctuary at no cost to Landry’s. We gave notice at that time that we would file a lawsuit if the offer was declined.

The tigers at the heart of the case — Nero, Marina, Coral and Reef — have been housed indoors at the Downtown Aquarium for more than 13 years without adequate access to sunlight, fresh air, or natural surfaces.

These living conditions are inadequate for tigers and violate the Endangered Species Act — the ESA — which has protected tigers since 1970, and applies to captive animals. In 2018, a three-judge panel of the Eighth Circuit issued a unanimous decision upholding the application of the ESA to captive animals.

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