Not All Animals Can Be Kept as Pets ~ Exotic Pet Trade Regulations

We see large animals such as lions, tigers and chimpanzees on television and in movies acting as though they are mere house pets. The same is held true for many species of mammals, birds and reptiles. But what we don't see are the years of training and handling of these large animals that have made them into the "tame" creatures they appear to be. The allure of wild animals have some people wanting to keep one as a pet. And in the age of the internet, it is not impossible to find someone (for the right price) that is willing to get one. However, there are laws in place governing the trade and ownership of wild animals.

Depending on what state (or part of the world) you live in, wild animals are protected under very well-defined laws. These laws include the Captive Wildlife Safety Act - this act had to be put in place because of the rise of big cats being kept as pets. Under this law, it is illegal to take wild felines across the US borders or state lines. This law is enforced, not only for public safety, but also for the animals themselves.

In addition to the Captive Wildlife Safety Act, another law enforced is called the Endangered Species Act. This covers both federal and state laws and is the "Big Brother law" that prohibits the trade of endangered animals. If you are caught keeping an exoic animal (or selling) you may be fined up to $5,000 dollar and up to $10,000 if it is a second offense. In addition, you can also face up to a year in jail.

Exotic birds have also been harmed for the pet trade. Many parrots are snatched from their nests as chicks and raised in captivity to be later sold off to pet stores or private owners. This is not only leads the bird to being fearful of humans, but its life spent in a cage (usually with many owners) is less than ideal. For this reason the Wild Bird Conservation Act has been set up. This law sees to the proper handling of birds and will issue permits only to those who are eligible and meet the specific criteria.

These laws are put in place, to not only keep animals from harm, but also for the protection of the people who want to own an exotic pet. Wild animals are not the same as species that have been domesticated for years. Exotic animals will always retain some of their "wild" nature that could pose a problem for both the owner and the "pet."