Born 2 B Wild

"Keep wildlife IN the wild!"

Real Life Disasters

  • Southwold, Ontario CANADA January 11, 2010 Norman Buwalda (age 66) was attacked and killed by his 650lb “pet” tiger when he entered the cage to feed it.
  • Saylorsburg, PENNSYLVANIA October 5, 2009 A woman is attacked and killed by a black bear she had kept as a pet for nine years. Kelly Ann Walz was cleaning the cage where she kept 350-pound Teddy on Sunday night when the bear turned on her and attacked.

What do the numbers say?

In the last 21 years, out of thousands and thousands of privately owned big cats, 20 deaths have occurred. That comes to about 1 death per yer, and if the current stated number of big cats (20,000) were the only to exist, that would be .1 percent of their population (over the course of 21 years there were WAY more than 20,000). Consider also that 5-10 years ago state-wide regulations were unfortunately more lax.

What do the experts say?

“The longer I’m in the business, the more lack of respect I’m seeing for the Earth and its wildlife. Number one: there is no such thing as a pet wild animal. Number two: in many cases it’s a violation of the law. Number three: you don’t have a right to do it,” Jeannie Lord with the Pine View Wildlife Rehabilitation and education Center said

How is it dangerous to humans?

There are many deadly illnesses that you could get from wild animals such as Herpes B-virus,Ebola virus, and monkey pox from monkeys and Salmonellosis from reptiles. Also the animals could bite, scratch and harm you in several other ways.

What are some dangers for the animals?

Wild animals have been in the wild their whole life. Even the generations before them. They have needs, instincts and behaviors that are tied both to their appropriate habitat, and to a free-living state. It is not appropriate and inhumane to force a wild animal to live the captive life of a pet.

No matter how well designed a fake habitat may be, it can never replicate the freedom that wild animals require to be complete beings. A permanently captive wild animal is doomed to a life of confusion and stress as he attempts to reconcile instinctual urges with foreign surroundings. Wild animals belong in the wild.

What is the impact on the environment?

Wild animals can often escape; others are abandoned outdoors by their owners. If they survive and become part of an environment where they do not belong, they compete with the resident animals for the limited resources of the area.

Exotic pets escaped or released into the wild animals also can bring diseases to which farm animals or native wildlife have no immunity.

Some exotic animals in the pet trade are taken from the wild, which can be very bad to both the animals and the ecosystem.

What's Legal and Illegal?


Federal Laws: Three federal laws regulate exotic animals — the Endangered Species Act, the Public Health Service Act, and the Lacey Act. However, these laws primarily regulate the importation of exotic animals into the United States and not private possession.

Under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) it is illegal to possess, sell, or buy an endangered species regardless to whether it’s over the Internet or not. The ESA does not regulate private possession, it merely allows the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) to prosecute individuals who illegally possess endangered species. It should be noted that “generic” tigers (subspecies that have been interbred) are not considered endangered and, as such, can be legally bred and possessed.

The Public Health Services Act prohibits the importation of non-human primates and their offspring into the United States after October 1975 for any use other than scientific, educational or exhibition purposes.

The Lacey Act allows the U.S. government to prosecute persons in possession of an animal illegally obtained in a foreign country or another state. Again, this Act does not regulate private possession, it merely allows the USFWS to prosecute individuals who have illegally obtained exotic animals.

State Laws: The state governments possess the authority to regulate exotic animals privately held. Laws vary from state to state on the type of regulation imposed and the specific animals regulated. Thirteen states (AK, CA, CO, GA, HI, MA, NH, NJ, NM, TN, UT, VT, WY) ban private possession of exotic animals (i.e. they prohibit possession of at least large cats, wolves, bears, non-human primates, and dangerous reptiles); seven states (CT, FL, IL, MD, MI, NE, VA) have a partial ban (i.e. they prohibit possession of some exotic animals but not all); fourteen states (AZ, DE, IN, ME, MS, MT, NY, ND, OK, OR, PA, RI, SD, TX) require a license or permit to possess exotic animals; and while the remaining states neither prohibit nor require a license, they may require some information from the possessor (veterinarian certificate, certification that animal was legally acquired, etc.).