Some days the news flashes include stories like “Killer whale kills Trainer” or “Bear mauls owner” etc… and then we read it look at each other shake our heads and say “How could that happen?” Then it turns to “why would someone keep a Bear as a pet?” These questions seem to arise mostly when something goes wrong, but in reality animals in general attack when they feel threatened in anyway, they don’t talk about it or take a step back, their natural way to defend themselves is attack the threatened. When one is away from ones home the way we are is kind of similar too if you ask me, we are vary, we watch out for anything we perceive as a threat etc… It is nature if you ask me. When we remove an animal from its habitat we are changing its life and life style, but some how expect it to act as if nothing has changed.
A White lion
I volunteer at an amazing zoo where the animals are very well taken care of and help teach many a child and parent about the environment and what is happening to it; but if given a choice I do believe animals belong in the wild, as that is their home. There are times when one gets asked at the zoo, why are they enclosed in this place? shouldn’t they be free? etc… The way I answer it is “The animals at the zoo help us learn and pay more attention to the environment and what we are doing to their natural habitats. Almost all the animals in the zoo were born in captivity and some of them are even ensuring the survival of the species.” There is also the reality that zoos have come a long way from the zoos of our childhood when animals were in metal barred concrete floored cages with just enough space to move around, these days their environment and comfort are kept in mind and the exhibits are built to suit the animal.
Then there is the other group of people who proudly declare “I have a python this big, or an alligator or a wolf…” once the animal outgrows its cuteness the limited space and the need for care make taking responsibility difficult and many of these pets end up in the backyard habitats scaring residents as they look for food! Responsible thing would be to find a home for the pet but that is too much work for most “responsible pet owners” The best examples would be the Burmese pythons in the Florida everglades which have grown and seem to have acclimatized themselves to the climate and surroundings threatening local wildlife including the gators!
We have been educated to suggest that snakes and other wild animals are best left they belong and don’t make good pets. But the reality is far from it the US has more exotic pets in houses than in the zoos around the country, the same goes for many many other countries which also have lax laws for owning exotic pets.
Did you know that 98% of all exotic animals held as pets die before they reach age 2? And did you know that it is legal to house these animals in cages just big enough for them to stand up and turn around? There have been countless investigations all revealing the same thing: There are simply no responsible owners, there is no two ways about it wild animals belong in the wild.
I read this article on PlanetGreen the author Rachel Cernansky says “Google “Exotic pets” and you will see a long list of private companies selling exotic pets like primates, large mammals, educational animals and even coral! Mush lower you may find results focused more on Environmental and animal welfare concerns, meaning it is really not mainstream “the discussion about having exotic pets”.
I have had the chance to come across a group of large cats which a lady kept as pets in one of the Columbus suburbs and it was appalling to see that the beautiful animals were declawed so as to keep the “Owner” safe! Like a house cat which is declawed so that it does not scratch our possessions or our body. To me it is unconceivable the kind of thought process which makes one take in a wild animal as pet and hold it captive in a small enclosure away from its own kind. Ohio along with Alabama, Idaho, Missouri and Montana have the most lax laws in the US there by leading to the trade of exotic animals going on all around the states.
These practices also lead to increased illegal trafficking of protected species and active inbreeding to supply the demand. Some examples for inbreeding would be the white tigers and lions in the US, then there are the genetic experiments like Liger, Tigon etc… cross breeds between tiger and lion! We are unable to make sure existing species and we try to create new species!!
The Animals can escape into the surroundings and can threaten native wildlife and people alike. Exotic animals can carry diseases which the native animals have no resistance to. In my opinion these animals do not belong in homes or back yards and it is high time stronger laws are put in to keep wild animals where they belong in their own homes in the wild.
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