By Michele C. Hollow
A number of years ago, I visited an orangutan sanctuary in Borneo. The workers walked around like orangutans. Their task was to teach orphaned orangutans (and there were many of them) how to be orangutans.
According to Adam M. Roberts, executive vice president of Born Free USA, many exotics are purchased as infants and then are abandoned by their keepers, because as the pet ages, it becomes impossible to control.
The same can be said for big cats. “Between 5,000 and 7,000 tigers are kept as pets in the United States,” says Adam. “That’s more pet tigers than tigers in the wild. A tiger can be purchased for as little as $300. As these pets age, they become impossible to handle, and wind up being sold to roadside zoos, or they are dumped on humane societies or wildlife sanctuaries, which puts an economic burden on them. As a result, the majority of these animals are euthanized, abandoned, or doomed to live in deplorable conditions.”
Adam defines exotics as “animals that have not been domesticated over centuries for human companionship.”
Born Free USA considers reptiles and many different types of birds as exotics too. “Instead of purchasing an exotic, we should adopt cats and dogs,” says Adam. He and his family live with two dogs and five cats.
“Snakes and other reptiles are dangerous in terms of attacking humans,” says Adam. “Plus, they carry diseases such as salmonella.”
Snakes and birds have become popular pets, and the exotic animal trade is a multi-billion dollar a year industry. Here are five reasons exotics don’t make good pets: More....