Today morning, one of our Twitter followers tagged us in what he came across on an online classifieds website in Qatar.
Cubs of lions, tigers and jaguars were on sale, with price starting from QR60,000. In another post, a ‘friendly Ball Python snake’ was on sale – her characteristics included: “she never bites, friendly with all members and great with kids”.
The fact that many people in Qatar have wild animals, especially exotic species, as pets is not new. Keeping dangerous animals at home is regarded a severe offence, though there is no strict enforcement of this law in Qatar which makes this “luxury hobby” of collecting exotic or wild animals as pets even more rampant.
If the thought of jumping on the bandwagon has ever crossed your mind, think again.
Domestic animal veterinarians in Qatar such as Qatar Veterinary Centre often do not have the required expertise or license to treat or rehabilitate exotic animals. Moreover, even licensed vets are not allowed to treat animals without a CITES (The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) permit.
HERE ARE 5 REASONS WHY WILD ANIMALS SHOULDN’T BE KEPT AS PETS:
Keeping wild/exotic animals in captivity not only threatens the existence of individual species but also upsets the balance of the ecosystem in from which they are taken. Many big cats, including lions, tigers, leopards, jaguars and cheetahs are currently threatened with extinction.
Wild animals suffer trauma, extreme stress, malnutrition, isolation and behavioural disorders when kept in captivity and confined to small spaces. Many owners and breeders choose to remove the teeth and claws of wild animals to protect themselves against injury. These cruel practices can later lead to infection or inability for the animal to carry out natural activities.
Think Contagion. Many wild animals carry zoonotic diseases, i.e. illnesses that can be transferred from animals to humans like Rabies, Salmonella, SARS and Brucellosis. Wild animals also harbour internal and external parasites that can be lethal to humans, especially infants and young children.
It takes centuries of careful, selective breeding to domesticate an animal to coexist with humans in a household setting. Wild animals have naturally evolved to live independently of human care and interaction, and have unique, complex and little-understood needs. When these needs are not met, the animal experiences severe stress, which can result in a return to its natural instincts including attacking, injuring and even killing people and other animals.
Animals that have become accustomed to human contact may lose their natural ability to survive in the wild, including hunting or foraging for their own food, interacting with the group, and protecting themselves against danger. Animals that have been too habituated to humans can no longer survive in the wild, and finding another home for them can be almost impossible with zoos increasingly refusing to take them in and sanctuaries being strapped for cash and stretched for space.