People often tend to like exotic animals. There are a lot of potential purchasers for macaws, monkeys, lizards, and even for such unusual beasts as lions and tigers. It is really popular nowadays to have a pet, which you will not find in every store. This paper will discuss whether it is safe for such animals to be transported from their habitat and be captured.

When a person decides to obtain an exotic animal, there are a lot of offers, especially on the Internet. For your money you can even get a bear, take hedgehogs or monkeys. The problem is that the transportation of animals makes them suffer and endure a lot of pain; many of them die having not even reached the stores. It is not a secret that these beasts have a lack of proper nutrition, feel lonely when there is no other representative of their species, and nobody pays attention to them. Furthermore, they experience an overpowering stress because of confinement to the unusual environment, living in which appears to be painful and rough. Countless animals die along the way to the stores, only few of them manage to survive.

People do not care that transporting jeopardizes bests’ lives. The ordinary cats and dogs are no more fashionable to keep at home. The Captive Wild Animal Protection Coalition argues that in the US homes an increasing number of wild cats, exotic birds, large reptiles, and great apes are held. According to Catherine M. Brown: 

210 million animals were legally imported into the United States to satisfy the growing demand for exotic species; an unknowable number of pets…were smuggled in during the same time period, making up a large part…of the estimated $10 billion per year international black market.

Most of these animals originate from Australia, Brazil or Africa. Some are transported legally, according to the law, but that is a drop in the ocean. The majority of animals are smuggled. For the sake of money dealers are not afraid to break the law and have no pity to living creatures. Furthermore, the prices on smuggled exotic animals are far from low. 

The amount of animals taken from jungles and out from the wildlife enlarges every year, so the threat of some species extirpation becomes more real. Smugglers do not think about environment protection and they do not mind of over collecting of some populations. The trade of illegally caught reptiles and amphibians is considered to be the least regulated one. Only the insignificant number of species is properly monitored. Animal dealers usually have no knowledge in what way should the exotic organisms be removed and which living conditions are suitable for them. One of the most frightening consequences of this illegal trade is that it “carries numerous risks such as the introduction of exotic pests and parasites, the spread of disease to native fauna, and habitat disturbance as a result of collecting efforts”.

After being caught by trappers, the animals face a challenge of enduring grueling transport conditions. It is a common thing to load plastic tubes with birds in order to hide them in a suitcase or conceal reptile eggs in a waistcoat for successful passing X-ray machines at the airport. Turtles are fastened so that they are ambushed inside their shells and fastened by piles into tubes. Baby-snakes are transported in CD cases. There are a lot of examples people being imprisoned at the airports because of having infant cheetahs in their backpacks. Birds are smuggled in the extra bags and monkeys in the special clothing worn under outerwear. We can imagine what these animals’ probability of survival is. The reason for it is that nobody cares about their death. 

As I have mentioned above, possessing exotic pets causes a lot of disputes. Keeping tamed reptiles, frogs or some other unusual animals at home is rather a bad objective. The exotic pet trade is a common fraud in our country that leads to a shameful reputation that must not be boosted. 

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For primates, lizards and hedgehogs the detention by force is usually equal to a death sentence. They often endure surviving in unsuitable surroundings and the deficit of nourishment. Furthermore, animals suffer from solitude and experience a severe pain because of the restriction. In a pet shop we can see only few animals. The majority of them succumbs on the way. 

Michelle Rivera argues that “even when birds and reptiles are legally purchased from pet shops or dealers, a brutal, illegal trade in exotic animals is being unwittingly supported”. As a result, these exotic animals encounter a vicious destiny. For example, birds are fed forcibly, their wings are cut short, and beaks are fastened. As it has already been mentioned above, all the animals are transported in the most surprising parts of the smugglers’ baggage. Let us just imagine the scale of loss, when about eighty percent die during the transportation. I consider it to be the immense wastefulness of living creatures’ lives. Smugglers have no mercy putting these animals under the influence of medication and loading double-bottom packages with them. However, the illegal trade industry is not being even nearly reduced. Moreover, it is developing every year. No one seems to be interested in trying to stop it. It can sound fantastic, but exotic animal trade income is equal to drugs smuggling. 

When animals are taken from their usual environment, the whole ecosystems are threatened. In order to reach the targeted birds, for instance, trappers might cut down trees. That leads to destroying the other animals’ habitats.  

The thing is each of us may do something to solve the problem of exotic creatures’ illegal trade. People should never buy them from traders. The same thing is with pet shops. The reason is that I already have explained how animals get there. It does not mean that a person is not anymore allowed to be a happy owner of a creature. You can choose one at an animal shelter. There are also rescue groups that can offer you cats and dogs that need care and love even more than exotic beasts. We can show our support to governmental law that can make the possessing of exotic animals prohibited in our society. Apart from that, the state trade with exotic beats must be stopped too.         

The establishment of sanctuaries may also be a possible way to deal with the problem. “Sanctuaries were formed by individuals who wanted to be part of the solution to end the exotic animal trade as well as provide a humane alternative for the animal”. In such sanctuaries, there is a wide range of rescued animals, i.e. snakes, raccoons, and sometimes even leopards and lions. Sanctuary workers take for rehabilitation only those wild animals that are likely to be released in their natural environment later. Talking about other alternatives for these much suffered beats, one can use them in some educational programs. They may also be placed in zoos, where their safety is guaranteed. The striking point here is not to permit these animals being sold and transmitted anymore. Every person must be aware of the issue and its importance. Otherwise, there is no way to stop this horrible phenomenon. The government does not come out with any possible solution yet; and the problem is enlarging every day. I argue that it has already reached its limit so we must not tolerate it anymore. It is a time for action. 

The perfect solution is for people to start establishing more sanctuaries. There is no doubt it is hard and challenging, but we should be brave. We have no right to be indifferent when the animals risk staying without a safe shelter. 

Looking for the solution is not just for the sake of animals, but it is for the sake of our children and us. I have already mentioned above that illegal trade endangers our health and even lives. Human contact with a contagious pet may have unforeseeable consequences. We already know that most of animals that we see in the pet shops are taken from their natural habitat and not bred. “Health screening generally is not performed before shipment of these animals…and often there is mixing of animal species in holding locations where exposure occurs of healthy animals to animals that might be ill, incubating or carrying potential pathogens” . The black market delivers wild animals that may introduce diseases such as zoonoses. So if you decide to buy an exotic beast, think about the real threat to you and your family. Presumably, the best way here is to refuse from owning the unusual pet at all.

 

I truly believe that most of society members are worried with exotic animals’ well-being. If a lot of people stick together in order to change something and solve the problem, it will be easier to make authorities pay attention to this illegal trade. We can stimulate the process to stop the exotic animals’ transportation. However, the people working on the legislative level are the only ones who can put an end to it once and forever. It is not the news that animal control officials need individuals to complain at first for them to organize an investigation.

One more common and at the same time surprising branch of illegal trade is backyard breeding of exotic animals. The whole industry starts in neighboring backyards. Mostly, it is not prohibited if such a breeder has a license for animal breeding and capturing. Nevertheless, most breeders do not treat animals properly and do not care about the diseases they may endure. That is why, if you happen to know such person try to dissuade him of keeping and selling exotic beasts. Moreover, if you have a proof of his or her carelessness and irresponsibility concerning animals, immediately contact the officials. 

The exotic pet industry is minimally monitored. That is the cause of all the consequent problems. At present, it is nearly impossible to measure this illegal trade for some reasons:

Firstly, very little record keeping of exotic animals is legally mandated in most countries so little information is tracked. Secondly, many exotic pets are actually trafficked illegally and are, therefore, even more under the radar. The illegal trade in exotic pets, according to TRAFFIC, a wildlife trade monitoring network, is worth billions of dollars a year.

To draw a conclusion, now we understand that the trade of exotic animals is a great profitable business that brings a lot of money to smugglers, makes animals miserable, and endangers the lives of ordinary people. We must try hard in order to prevent the society from tragic consequences. People in our country and all over the world should start dealing with the problem before it is too late. Experts say that this industry could have disastrous consequences. The threat is more than just frightening, i.e. horrible diseases could cross from the wildlife into the human community.   

Smugglers are inventive; and for the sake of their own enrichment they use different methods. It seems that nothing is able to stop them from getting animals through the borders. However, we are strong enough to battle. Nowadays there are services that try to make some steps in this direction though it is just a drop in the ocean. At the airports there must be a big amount of agents for checking and controlling all the passengers. The government should make a plan of actions and introduce strict laws. If any of us somehow witnesses illegal animal trade or has a proof of it  we must not keep silent. The path to the complete destruction of illegal trade will be troublesome though it is worth great efforts for the sake of our future

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