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Earth Day for Wildlife

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.

Photo courtesy of Born Free.

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.)

Blood Profits
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 “nontargetanimals, 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.

9 comments to Earth Day for Wildlife

  • Jill

    Thanks Michele….I wish tourists would all see this and that people would realize for themselves when they are confronted with millions of say, porcupine quills in shops that there are way too many for them to have just been found, those Porcupine are killed for the tourist trade, they are trapped, probably in snares somewhere in the bush and probably die a horrific death..just so they can sell each quill for a few cents each.

  • Wild life shows you nature and nature is origin of our life. and people have to respect all life.

  • Michele, thank you for enlightening us with this info. Since we are nowadays far away from the processes of making our food, clothes and any other gadgets we buy, it’s easy to make a decision and buy something pretty without noticing what it really is or where it comes from. I now try to answer a few questions before I buy anything. Were any animals killed or tortured or tested to make this product? Where does this come from? Do I really need this? Making more conscious choices is painful and time consuming. But it does pay off in our consciences. :-)

  • LittleStar

    I do all the tips suggested. I may be against anyone else’s ideas…but I am grateful to the GOOD Caretakers that have Tigers as a PET (not Circus animal or other FORCED performance)…without them we might be seeing Tigers only in OLD PICTURES.

  • Kim O

    Thanks for this most informative story!!

  • What I didn’t know about the tigers is that the majority of the ones in the US live in Texas. Wonder why that is?

  • Helen Vassos

    the tiger numbers in captivity in the US is truly shocking…

  • Hi Daniela,
    I do the same, and it makes my shopping experience a richer one! Thanks for commenting, Michele

  • Amalia Ciaschi

    We really need to treat our planet better. Thanks for the article.