Animal Charity Urges People Not to Give Exotic Pets as Gifts During Holiday Season.
TORONTO, Dec. 18, 2018 /CNW/ - For many of us, it's the most wonderful time of the year…but for wild animals caught up in the exotic pet trade, this time of year could mean increased suffering, trauma and the risk of being bought and sold like a toy.
Over the holiday season, there are usually concerns about animals being bought or adopted as gifts only to be returned in the end. In Germany some of the biggest animal shelters have temporarily banned adopting animals over the festive period.
World Animal Protection has the same concern for exotic wild animals (or pets) and is urging people not to give or ask for an exotic animal as a gift. These animals include snakes such as ball pythons, sugar gliders which are from the marsupial family and exotic birds such as parrots.
Exotic wild animals are often purchased on impulse without the proper research done on caring for the animal. In Canada, public polling conducted by Strategic Communications showed that 30% of Canadians surveyed who owned an exotic pet spent only a few hours researching before buying. While 17% did no research at all.
The same poll shows that 10% of Canadians own an exotic pet. Freshwater fish are the most common followed by exotic birds, small mammals, lizards and iguanas.
While we know most people want exotic pets because they appreciate animals, what many don't know is that millions of these desired wild animals are snatched from their natural environment and even if they are bred in captivity, they suffer horribly from the exotic pet trade. It's become a multi-billion dollar industry and is still growing.
Animals are often shipped long distances before reaching their new home. As many as four out of five animals will die in transit or within a year in captivity. If they survive, they suffer from not being able to move or behave naturally. That takes a toll on their mental and physical health. They often are not provided proper food and shelter.
Over 500 species of reptiles and 500 species of birds are traded live across the world. Presumably destined for people's homes or private zoos. According to recent reports social media is now recognized as the "new epicenter" for the trade in exotic pets.
When owners decide that they can no longer care for their exotic pet, responsible owners will hand them into rescue centres when they can. But the reality is many end up abandoned and back in the pet trade or released into the environment – potentially causing irreparable harm to the ecosystem.
Melissa Matlow, Senior Wildlife Campaign Manager with World Animal Protection says, "Whether they are sourced from the wild or bred in captivity, many wild animals suffer and die when crudely transported, handled and kept as pets in inappropriate conditions that can't meet their complex needs. Exotic pets are often an impulse buy and we know people are pressed to make quick decisions over the holidays. We urge people to take time to consider what is needed to care for these animals properly. Once they are informed, we believe they will understand why wild animals are not appropriate gifts or pets."
World Animal Protection hopes to educate people about the welfare issue of owning exotic animals and to see that they belong in their natural habitat.
SOURCE World Animal Protection
For further information: Notes to the editor: For more information, interviews, B-roll or images please contact Nina Devries, Media Manager for World Animal Protection Canada at [email protected] or 416 369 0044 ext.100