Big Cats

Meet the fabulous felines that make audiences roar with delight. 

Tigers are known as "big cats." They are members of the feline family, a category that includes 36 species of mammals ranging from the lion, leopard and jaguar to the common house cat.

The big cats showcased at Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® have a relationship with their trainers based on mutual trust and respect. However, our trainers never forget that these animals are incredibly strong and fierce. For this reason, the big cats always perform behind a barrier.

Yipes, stripes! The terrific tiger! 

The tiger is one of the largest predators in the world – and one of the rarest. Due to the beauty of its coat and loss of its habitat, the tiger has become an endangered species. Tigers are the most endangered of all the big cats and need our help so that they can continue to live in the wild. Tigers can live in almost any climate; they require only shade, water and food. They prefer to hunt for food at night then bring down their prey with a swipe of their powerful forelegs and sharp claws.

One hundred years ago, as many as 100,000 wild tigers roamed the forests and grasslands of Asia. But today, fewer than 3,200 tigers remain in the wild. Tigers now live in less than seven percent of their historic range. 

In the past 80 years, three subspecies of tigers have gone extinct. The six remaining subspecies - Amur, Bengal, Indochinese, Malayan, South China, and Sumatran - live only in Asia, and all are threatened by poaching and habitat loss. The Greatest Show On Earth® features Bengal tigers in four color phases ranging from white to orange, striped in black.

All the tigers you see at The Greatest Show On Earth were bred in captivity and act as ambassadors to raise awareness of and help us conserve their species in the wild. Guests of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus can see first-hand how magnificent these big cats are, and get to see more tigers interact together than anywhere else.

Fascinating Facts  

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