The Dangers of Owning Wild Animals

Topics: Wildlife, United States, Tiger Pages: 6 (1659 words) Published: June 15, 2014

The Dangers of Owning Exotic Animals as Pets
Dawn Patton
October 06, 2013
Myrene Magabo
The Dangers of Owning Exotic Animals as Pets
On the evening of Tuesday October 18, 2011 in Zanesville, Ohio over 49 wild and exotic animals including 18 Bengal tigers were shot and killed, after their owner opened all the cages and then took his own life (Caron, 2011). People have had an attraction to owning wild animals for decades, and the amount of injuries that have resulted from trying to coexist in a mutual environment with them is startling (The Humane Society of the United States, 2012). Understanding what the attraction is in owning wild animals may prevent these animals from being mistreated and becoming a danger to themselves and populated areas. The Attraction

Humans have had an attraction to animals for decades. It is an understandable attraction especially for beautiful, large, and wild creatures, and it is fascinating to learn as much as we can about them. For many individuals this means living as close as possible, with these large and potentially dangerous animals regardless of the danger. There are many states in the U.S. that do not have strict laws preventing the ownership of exotic, and/or dangerous animals. In fact Alabama, Nevada, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia, and Wisconsin do not have any laws in place to regulate the ownership of wild animals. Across the nation only 19 states have laws banning private individuals from owning wild and dangerous animals, that’s only 38% of the U.S. that has laws in place to protect these animals and the communities they pose a danger to (The Humane Society of the United States, 2012). The Dangers

Tuesday, October 18, 2011 in Zanesville, Ohio began as any other day, but would take a tragic turn of events by nightfall. Terry Thompson was well known locally for owning large and exotic animals, but he did not own just one wild animal. He owned a shocking 56 of them with only himself, and his wife to care for them (Caron, 2011). Terry’s collection included lions, tigers, bears, wolves, and primates. Authorities believe that Terry released all 56 animals from their enclosures, before then taking his own life. There were no human causalities that resulted from this situation however, almost fifty animals were shot and killed before the night was over. This is an example of an extreme case of becoming too attracted to the animals he claimed to love, and unfortunately the animals paid the ultimate price for Terry’s attraction. The Extinction

An examination on the numbers and figures over the past century shows an indication of extinction on exotic animals. In 2013 The Humane Society of the Unites States estimated that the exotic animal trade makes up about 10 billion dollars’ worth of black market trade profits (The Humane Society of the United States, 2013). Although the drop in population is not solely due to humans purchasing and owning wild animals as pets, these animals need to be protected in their natural habitats so they do not go extinct for any reason (Encyclopedia Britannica, 2013). At the start of the 20th century the tiger population was estimated to be at over 100,000 worldwide, and in recent years that estimation has shrank down to only 3,200 tigers left across the globe. The South China tiger is one of the world’s most endangered species with less than 12 left in the entire world. Large breeds of felines are not the only species of animal that has had its population threatened over the years, currently there are at least five species of primates that are on the endangered species list (World Wild Life Foundation, 2013). Primates are a popular choice for individuals who are seeking a wild animal for a pet. Often obtained at a very young age monkeys can seem like ideal pets because of their intelligence and similarity to human beings. However, when they reach an age of maturity primates can become very aggressive and dangerous...

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