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 special facilities for them. Wild animals have very complex behavioral, social and physiological needs. All animals have a specific diet they need to follow in order to be healthy. Many of these diets can get rather expensive for the owner or are not even known. “Some animals have to be taught how to find their own food.
Others must be socialized with their own kind at the right age to learn survival skills in the wild. ” (chintiminiwildlife. org) which the owners don’t often know. The owner is legally responsible for any damage, injury or illnesses cause by their animals which increases the cost in owning one. An animal has the be killed once it has killed a human because it is now labeled as a real threat. Many wild animal owners get there animal when they are just babies and they do not realize the size they will grow up to be or how fast they will grow.
Many animals become to hard to manage Animal Shelters are not equipped to take on exotic animals, the breeder wont take them back, Zoo’s will not accept animals that have been previous pets and space is limited in sanctuaries. Because of the few options the owner has many of these grown animals become stuck in small cages, passed around from owner to owner, let loose or even killed. “The instinctive behavior of the adult animal replaces the dependent behavior of the juvenile, resulting in biting, scratching, or displaying destructive behaviors without provocation or warning. ” (humanesociety. rg, issues) Because of dependency of the baby animal is so attractive it makes it even easier to bond to these dangerous animals making it hard to know when the animal has become a true danger to its owner. The animals diet is very important at this age and it may even be different than it’s adult diet. It may need certain nutrients that it’s normal food does not have. Many baby animals need a special mixture of milk and nutrients multiple times a day. Many people try to rehabilitate wild animals but it should be left to the professionals who are required to have a license.
Rehabilitation is defined as “Rehabilitation is the care and conditioning provided to sick, orphaned, injured, or displaced animals in order to prepare them for life in their native habitats. ” (hsus. org, marine animals) Many veterinarians cannot properly diagnose or effectively treat health problems in wild animals. Baby animals that need the assistance of humans to survive need to be kept at a distance from humans. Wild animals should not become okay with human interaction this may lead to their death when released into the wild when they are older.
Some animals are used to being in a heard or pack and need that socialization to survive if kept alone they will be unable to make those bonds. The centers for disease control recommend you don’t even touch a wild animal because they can carry diseases that are dangerous to people, such as rabies, herpes B virus commonly found in macaque monkeys , and Salmonella found in reptiles and amphibians. “Estimates vary, but experts agree that at least one in three reptiles harbors salmonella and shigella. The percentage of reptiles with salmonella is probably 77 to 90 percent. The U.
S. Fish and Wildlife Service says that 90 percent of imported green iguanas carry some strain of intestinal bacteria. ” (aspca. org) The commercial trade of wild animals is a multi-billion dollar business, capturing wild animals threatens their survival in their native habitats. The huge demand for exotic pets is making illegal capturing and trade business boom, millions of birds, mammals and reptiles are being captured each year most of which die while being captured and transported. Baby monkeys and chimps are taken from there mothers very early, in some cases three days old.
The mortality rates of wild animals vary depending on what kind of animal it is, where it came from, how they captured and transported it and the ability for the species to cope with the extreme trauma and its ability to adapt to captive life. Nations with a lot of wild life have not been able to control the trade of their wild life. “Forty percent of vertebrate animals that are endangered or threatened with extinction today were brought to that point, in part, by the uncontrollable wildlife trade. (TheHumaneSociety. org) Wild animals should not be kept as pets and the pre-existing laws should be enforced. The term wild in this context specifically applies to any species of animal which has not undergone a fundamental change in behavior to have a close co-existence with humans. Most humans who own wild animals believe that they have achieved a distinct bond with their animal and that they have in fact succeeded in more than just co-existing with their wild animal.
But there is no way in telling if wild animal’s deadly instincts have gone away and in most cases they have not. Since the federal government is restricted by the constitution only a single state is able to mandate on what is and is not legal to own. The states that do not allow any ownership of wild animals are: Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Washington and Wyoming.
In Ohio the law is “No person may bring into the state a non-domestic animal unless the possessor: obtains an entry permit; health certificate certifying the animal is free of infectious diseases; and a certificate of veterinary inspection. Persons in the state possessing non-domestic animals do not need to obtain a permit. ” In West Virginia only regulates native species to the state. A person possessing a native animal in captivity as a “pet” must obtain a permit. However, there are no state laws governing private possession of exotic animals.
In Wisconsin they require all animals commonly sold in pet shops to have certificates of veterinary inspection if they are brought from outside the state. (BornfreeUSA. com) For over fifteen years Dennis Hill has been breeding and selling tigers from his house in Indiana. At one period of time Mr. Hill had twenty-four tigers, three bears, six leopards and one cougar that he single handedly took care of. He tells the interviewers in the documentary The Tiger Next Door “I know exactly what they are thinking of just by looking into their eyes. ” This is a common delusion that exotic pet owners share.
Joe Taft had previously taken two of his tigers while talking to Dennis one on one he announced that the female tiger was so poorly taken care of she had nine abscessed teeth. After many years of complaints by his neighbors about the horrible and inhumane conditions these animals were in the Department of Natural Resources came out to investigate his operation and found that he was unable to take care of his animals, they ended up taking away all but three tigers. There are however success stories of people owning wild animals as pets. In 1969 John Randall and Ace Berg bought a lion cub they saw for sale.
They named him Christian, within a year or so Christian got for to big for their apartment so they decided to reintroduce him into the wild. Also, Steve Sipek who played Tarzan in a few older movies was saved by his trained lion in when the studio they were shooting in started on fire. Ever since then he kept wild cats, over 40 years and has shared his home to a hundred lions, tigers and leopards. He says he interprets their behavior and can asserting his dominance over the cats. He has had a few people injured by his cats but it has not been fatal.
Many people are attracted to monkeys and chimps because they are so similar to humans. When they are babies they are so helpless and sweet. But once they hit the age of sexual maturity they begin to become aggressive. A healthy nonhuman primate can live to be 20-40 years of age, many owners do not realize the commitment they are making by buying one. Often times the primate will attack the care taker trying to establish dominance. Nonhuman primates range from $1,500 to $50,000. Even endangered species are for sale , like Diana monkeys, lemurs, and gibbons.
The Allied Effort to Save Other Primates estimates there are 15,000 primates kept as pets in the United States. “Veterinarian Kevin Wright of the Phoenix Zoo in Arizona says primates are highly intelligent, emotionally complex, and long-lived animals that need to be around their own kind in order to develop normally. ” he goes on to say “(“If you try to keep them as pets you’re creating a mentally disturbed animal in 99. 9 percent of the cases, The animal will never be able to fit in any other home. Never learn how to get along with other monkeys.
And, more often than not, will end up with a lot of behavioral traits that are self-destructive. ” (nationalgeographic. com Primates) According to research done for the National Geographic Ultimate Explorer television documentary America’s Big Cats in Crisis there are approximately 15,000 exotic big cats may be living in neighborhoods and roadside zoos in the United States. In fact, the country may have more pet tigers than there are estimated to be remaining in their wild habitats in Asia. (nationalgeographic. com big cats) Some wild cats sell for under four hundred dollars.
Like any baby animal Big cats are tiny and very appealing to potential wild animal owners, but the thing they do not realize is that big cats can grow to be five hundred pounds and eat around fifteen pounds of meat. Even the potential owners that know the size the cat will get they buy them for the prestige of owning these large and beautiful cats. They like to feel like they have a special connection with something so powerful. Owners like Steve Sipek believes the animals know they have a special bond and the cats know they will not hurt them.
Many people think that a reptile is an easy pet to take care of but in reality, the require a lot of care. Reptiles need a very specific diet and habitats. Many reptiles’ natural habitats and diets are unknown making it impossible for owners to know how to properly care for them. Many reptiles grow very fast in a short amount of time, an iguana can grow five feet in five years. “As many as 90 percent of wild-caught reptiles die in their first year of captivity because of physical trauma received before they are sold, or because the buyers cannot meet animals’ complex dietary and habitat needs. ” (hsus. org reptiles)