The 20th-century is when exotic pets further grew in popularity, and millions started being traded across the globe. Sept. 25, 2009. Animal Intervention was a show on the National Geographic channel that opportunistically added to anti-exotic pet hysteria. The trade in and keeping of exotic pets has been frequently criticized for the commonly inhumane and harmful practices that are associated with supply and keeping, including animal welfare, species conservation, invasiveness, and public health and safety. People in China went a step further during the Song Dynasty (960-1279) and were the first to selectively breed fish for decoration. Millions of animals are forced into the exotic pet trade every year for the purpose of becoming someone's pet or entertaining the masses in a circus or roadside zoo. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) reports that infant animals are the most desirable and earn dealers the largest profits. Most of the published statistics reviewed above stem from trade patterns that were manifest several decades ago and therefore do not reflect the current rise in exotic pet ownership worldwide. Removing wild animals from their natural habitats -- like the rainforest or African plains -- negatively affects the delicate ecosystems, which, according to the ASPCA, rely on those species to further the life cycle of plants and keep animal populations in check. The booming business in exotic pets is known as the exotic pet trade. At least 70 ‘zoonotic’ pet-related infections and infestations are known. Unfortunately, many consumers remain unaware of the origins of exotic pets, how the exotic pet trade affects wild populations, and how to care for exotic pets. Melissa cares for a variety of exotic animals and has completed a certificate in veterinary assisting and a bachelor's degree in biology. A pet African grey parrot. They have the same needs as in the wild, which must be met in captivity by law under the Animal Welfare Act. The escape of 50 exotic animals near Zanesville, Ohio, last month brought into the spotlight the complex issues, as well as dangers, of keeping wild animals as domestic pets. "Exotic Pet Trade Booming in U.S." Associated Press. But some people have always wanted something a little more unusual – wild pets. For example, just the illegal wildlife business including both dead and live animals is estimated to be between $10 - 20 billion a year. But it wasn’t until open water sailing became possible in the 15th century that people began to trade animals across oceans. (Sept. 7, 2010), http://www.bornfreeusa.org/a3b_exotic_pets.php, - Ebrahim, Margaret; Solomon, John. Hundreds of species of snakes, including boa constrictors, anacondas, and other large snakes are shipped into the U.S. every year. By 2009, this had more than doubled to over 323 billion. 3. While some wild pets have been bred in captivity, many exotic animals are plucked directly from their native habitats. In fact, 92% of the 500,000 live animal shipments between 2000-2006 to the United States (that’s 1,480,000,000 animals) were for the pet trade, and 69% of these originated in Southeast Asia. Historically, getting a wild species to keep as a pet, more commonly known as an exotic pet, was a small-scale operation. (Sept. 7, 2010), http://www.hsus.org/wildlife/issues_facing_wildlife/should_wild_animals_be_kept_as_pets/the_whims_and_dangers_of_the_exotic_pets_market.html, - Humane Society of the United States. The European Union and in particular Germany have a central role as a hub and destination for exotic pets from all over the world. Enter your email address to get updates with our latest news, appeals and campaigns worth sharing. Humane Society of the United States. Today, our appetite for unusual and exotic pets is still prevalent and not much has changed in the way these are sourced. Although baby animals might be cute and easy to maintain, they usually grow into dangerous adults with unmanageable needs. Or sign up to our mailing list by completing the form to the left. Some animals are still taken from the wild to fill pet shops. Reptiles kept as pets constantly suffer from nutritional deficiencies and many d… For example, exotic turtles grew in popularity in the 1980s thanks to the popular television show, "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles." From 1980 to1990 there was an explosion in the popularity of reptiles as pets and in their trade in the West. Rare species of reptiles and amphibians especially are in the focus of collectors. Pets like house cats, dogs and horses are domesticated, that means they have been selectively bred for specific traits that appear over many generations. The exotic pet trade undermines valuable conservation efforts in native habitat countries. In the early 1990s the value of legal wildlife products imported globally was around 160 billion. Contrary to the popular misconception that rearing exotic animals in captivity or keeping wild animals as pets is the answer to protecting endangered species, the exotic pet trade creates serious ecological challenges in both source and consumer countries. However, most owners don't realize the huge responsibility they are inheriting when they purchase exotic pets, and there's rarely a happy ending for the animal. Schiphol airport in the Netherlands is one of the largest European airports and is considered a main hub for legal and illegal import of exotic animals. Phone: 646-783-2200. Today, exotic pets are even bigger business and are a main driver of the trade of live animals. 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