Wild Animals as Pets
“Between 13,000 and 2,500 B.C., humans domesticated dogs, cats, cattle, goats, horses, and sheep from their wild counterparts. Although the terms taming and domestication are often used interchangeably, they are not the same. Individual wild animals can be tamed to behave in a docile manner around humans. By contrast, domestication is a process that takes place with an entire animal species over many generations.” (libraryindex.com) Humans began domesticating large animals because they provided things like milk, meat, leather, wool and land transportation. In Eurasia and North America people domesticated wolves to become what we know now as a dog for hunting companions, guards and in some places food. There have been some small mammals such as chinchillas and hamsters domesticated as recently as the 19th and 20th century. Domestic animals not only more gentle than there wild ascendants but they also have a different genetic make-up. Over time the desired traits in an animal have been enhanced, such as size, color and temperament.
In the article “Evolution, Consequences, and Future of Plant and Animal Domestication” by Jared Diamond he concludes that for an animal to be successfully be domesticated it needs to have six of these characteristics; A diet that can be supplied easily and relatively cheaply by humans, a relatively fast growth rate with a short gestation period, a good temperament, easily bred in captivity, a social structure based on a hierarchy, calm behavior making them less likely to panic in unfamiliar situations. Without even just one of these characteristics the animal will be unable to be fully domesticated. For example Zebra’s almost fit into all of these characteristics but ancient herdsmen had tried for centuries to domesticate them. The are almost just like horses but they have very bad tempered and skittish. Also, although Elephants have been tamed they have not been domesticated they take too long to grow and there gestation period is much too long.
“Neither indigenous herders with access to candidate species over thousands of years, nor modern geneticists, have succeeded in making useful domesticates of large mammals beyond the ancient fourteen, which were domesticated by at least 4500 years ago” (guns, germs and steel pg. 168) Only fourteen out of 148 large mammal have ever been domesticated. This proves that there is no human benefit to try and domesticate any large mammals that are still undomesticated and that the only reason someone would want to is for there own personal reasons. Some of these reasons or justifications for people owning wild animals are “It's educational for the children, my cat killed the mother and I feel a responsibility for the baby's survival, I love animals and it knows that I'm trying to help it, people are always bringing me animals, It makes me feel important to have something no one else has, it knows I have a special way with animals and won't hurt it, everyone is getting their own wild animal, it's cool.” (chintiminiwildlife.org)
There are a lot of people curious about wild animals whether it be to research them or just to see them up close and personal. In America we have at least 184 zoos and in 2008 the combined attendance at AZA accredited zoos and aquariums was 175 million people. Many people also go on safari’s to see wild animals in their natural habitats. This curiosity is okay and isn’t hurting the animals. Many zoos are taking part in the conservation of many animals and going on safari’s allows you to examine the animal without disturbing there natural life. At a zoo the animals have very expensive enclosures specifically designed for each type of animal. They have many zoologists working for them to ensure that everything is kept as closely to there natural habitat as possible.
Despite what an animal seller or owner may say, taking care of a wild animal is expensive and you need vast knowledge on your animal and...
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