By Michele C. Hollow of Pet News and Views
Did you know that there are more tigers kept as pets in the U.S. than there are in the wild? According to my friends at Born Free USA, between 5,000 and 7,000 tigers are kept as pets, and fewer than 4,000 tigers roam free in the wild. It’s a sad statistic—especially when we know that in the early 1900s there were an estimated 100,000 tigers in the wild.
Another fact: It costs less to purchase a tiger in the U.S. ($300) than it costs to buy a purebred dog. (If you’re like me, you would never purchase a dog or cat from a store or even a breeder. Rescues make the best pets.)
The global wildlife trade is among the most profitable illicit enterprises along with drug and gun running. Trafficking into the U.S. rare and exotic wildlife (live birds, reptiles and other species) is a worth $10 to $20 billion annually. Parts of wild animals (including great apes and elephants) are also sold.
Pythons as Pets
Born Free USA estimates that 13 million reptiles are kept as pets. Most were captured in the wild or are the offspring of wild-caught parents. Tens of thousands of Burmese pythons—formerly kept as pets—have been let loose in Florida swamps.
Fur is NOT Fashion
Between 3 and 5 million animals are trapped in the U.S. each year by commercial fur trappers. For every “target” animal trapped, there are at least two other “non– target”animals, including dogs and cats.
How You Can Help
1. Enter the Born Free USA Wildlife Week Photo Contest for a chance to win prizes and have your photo posted online. For details, www.bornfreeusa.org/keepwildlifewildweek.”>click here.
2. Do not buy any wildlife products, such as sea turtle shell or elephant ivory.
3. Show your support for fur free fashion on Facebook by http://www.facebook.com/pages/Fur-Free-Retailer/32254327802“>adding Born Free USA’s Fur Free Retailer page to your list of “likes.”
4. Never shop at stores that sell live animals. Retail environment animals are treated like commodities in order for the store to realize a profit.
5. Become a Zoo Checker and help end the worst cases of suffering at zoos. Tell Born Free about the conditions for the animals at your local zoo.
The week of June 20 is Keep Wildlife in the Wild Week. For other tips, www.bornfreeusa.org/keepwildlifewildweek“>click here.