Four white tigers at Houston's Downtown Aquarium have never set a paw outside or basked in sunshine in a dozen years, say animal rights activists. Now one group is threatening to sue if the owners don't find a more natural home for the rare animals, reports the Houston Chronicle. Bred in captivity, the tigers—Marina, Coral, Nero, and Reef—are between 12 and 13 years old. The animals live in a "dungeon-like conditions" with no access to sunlight or fresh air, the San Francisco-based Animal Legal Defense Fund wrote in a notice that precedes a lawsuit, per the Dodo. A lawyer for Landry's, the company that runs the aquarium, called those charges "false and manipulative" and said "our tigers receive the highest level of care and treatment."
The tigers risk developing painful joint, muscle, and circulatory problems living in "unnatural, unyielding" concrete, the ALDF contends. The group is giving aquarium owner Landry's 60 days to find a better home—and they're offering to pay for it. The legal threat follows new standards under consideration by the Association for Zoos and Aquariums calling for more outdoor space and vegetation for tigers, per the Chronicle. Landry's says the tiger pen meets AZA standards, a fact that hasn't quelled critics. (Dozens of tiger cubs were found dead in a temple freezer.)