Over the last century, wild tiger (Panthera tigris) numbers have declined from over 100 000 individuals to fewer than 4 000, with animals now confined to less than 5% of their historic range due to habitat loss, persecution, inadequate management, and poaching. In contrast, 15 000–20 000 tigers are estimated to be housed in captivity, experiencing conditions vastly different than their wild counterparts. A total of 280 tigers are currently held at 44 different facilities within South Africa, including zoos, semi-captive ‘re-wilded’ populations, and pets; these animals provide a unique opportunity to measure the impact of extrinsic factors, found in exotic habitats, on the adrenocortical activity of tigers. By monitoring and comparing stress-related faecal glucocorticoid metabolite (fGCM) concentrations of tigers housed at different locations, and free ranging tigers in natural tiger reserves, this project aimed to get a better understanding of the impact of extrinsic factors on adrenocortical function as a measure of stress. The results of this study showed no significant difference in fGCM concentrations between captive, re-wilded, and free-ranging tigers with the exception of one site. Furthermore, factors such as sex and season were not significant drivers of fGCM concentrations. One study group had elevated fGCM concentrations, showing population variation in the stress response. This indicates that populations are able to cope with exotic environments, however, as population-specific differences in the stress response exist, we suggest management protocols be created for each population. This study offered the unique opportunity to see how well tigers are faring outside of their native range and if having re-wilded tigers in exotic locations is a potential welfare-acceptable management option for tiger conservation globally.