Wild animals have complex social, physical and behavioural needs. They have evolved to live in a specific environment and may not be able to adapt to life in a domestic environment.
Despite this, an increasing number of wild animals are kept as pets worldwide, fuelled in part by wild animals shown as ‘pets’ in popular TV programmes and movies, as well as a growing demand to own more unusual species. Just like dog breeds can fall in and out of favour with the public, exotic pets can too.
Born Free and Blue Cross’ One Click Away report, published in 2015, revealed 57% of licensed high street pet shops in Great Britain sold one or more species of wild animal. For example, primates, meerkats, venomous snakes and birds of prey were all available to buy.
Now, latest research by Born Free reveals that more than 4,700 dangerous wild animals are being kept privately, and legally, under licence in Great Britain under the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976; including more than 230 primates, 700 venomous snakes, and at least 292 dangerous wild cats. The Dangerous Wild Animals Act requires inspection and licensing for species considered to pose a risk to humans yet, as it is public health and safety legislation, it barely covers animal welfare.
Born Free is concerned that the legal trade in wild animals as pets encourages the illegal wildlife trade, which is worth an estimated $US23bn a year. This trade causes suffering to millions of wild animals – captive-bred or wild caught. For every wild animal captured and sold as a pet, many more may die in transit.
The heart-breaking story of King the lion cub – who was being kept illegally in a dirty cage – highlights why no wild animal should be kept as a pet. Born Free will continue to campaign for national and international legislation to end this practice.
If you live in the UK, there are important actions you can take to support the Born Free Foundation’s ongoing campaign to bring an end to the keeping of wild animals as pets.
If you live outside of the UK, you can support the campaign by sharing this page and our other updates on social media or via email; this really helps us to spread the word on this important issue.
© Animal Public
Write to your MP to call for an end to the keeping of wild or exotic animals as pets in Great Britain.
Please take action today! Use the link below to find out the contact details for your MP and write to them to call for action.
Help Born Free in its campaign for national and international legislation to end the keeping of wild or exotic animals as pets by making a donation.