"According to this Joy Behar interview with Dr. Bhagavan Antle of the Myrtle Beach Safari, 17-year-old Felicia Frisco, who comes from a family of animal handlers, sleeps with a 100-pound Bengal tiger in her bed. She is working as a trainer to bond with the animal. When the tiger turns one year old, he will be returned to the other tigers, but hopefully Felicia's relationship with him will remain.
When asked about the dangers of sleeping with a tiger, Antle responded, ""Certainly there is a degree of danger. She's a professional doing something that has a set of risks to it, just like going out and snowboarding competitively does."" But at his current age, the tiger's teeth are smaller than a dog's.
Behar dug a bit deeper, questioning whether the animal should be kept in captivity. Unfortunately though, as Antle explains, ""There's nowhere for a tiger to live in the wild anymore."" Bengal tigers are considered an endangered species on the IUCN Red List, with estimates suggesting that the total Bengal tiger population may be less than 2,500 due to habitat loss and poaching. Plus, a recent WWF study found that climate change may shrink tigers' habitat by 96%, leaving the tiger population at just 20 breeding animals. Bengal tigers are already showing signs of stress from environmental changes, with experts taking particular note of their dwindling stature. If no action is taken to eliminate poaching and habitat destruction, the WWF estimates that tigers could in fact become extinct in under 12 years."