The Illegal Pet Trade and its Effects on Wildlife
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The Illegal Pet Trade and its Effects on Wildlife

Exotic pets are cool to look at, but they go through a tough process before they get where they're going.

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The Illegal Pet Trade and its Effects on Wildlife
PHOTOGRAPH BY DEDI SAHPUTRA, EPA

In recent years, I have wanted an exotic pet. A cool reptile, a colorful bird, or even a dangerous insect. Being an animal lover, it was my dream to have an animal that wasn’t a normal pet, like dogs and cats. I wanted to stand above the rest; while my friends had dogs, I could have a python or a sugar glider.

Despite my want of an exotic pet, I also realize that those exotic animals go through a big change when they are shipped here.

Animals are trafficked in a multibillion dollar trade called the illegal or exotic pet trade. Sure, the people who do this benefit a lot from this practice, but they put the animals through torture before they reach their destination..and some don’t even make it there alive.

That’s the sad reality of it. You see people showing off their tigers and cheetahs, but you never see the path that got that animal in that position. That animal was probably taken from its mother when it was a baby and was trafficked illegally from its home.

The people who partake in this harmful exchange are aware that what they’re doing is illegal, but they just don’t care. Their greed keeps them going. To be fair, the consequences for partaking this trade aren’t what they should be and there aren’t enough people to enforce these laws for it to change, but that’s for another time.

Most, if not all, of these animals are taken from their natural habitats and shipped to the buyer. Sounds harmless right? If you think that, then you are honestly not very educated and don’t have common sense or empathy. Think of the illegal pet trade as human trafficking. Both of these acts are inhumane and should be stopped.

In both, the victims of these heinous acts are lured in. The ways of luring may be different, but it’s still luring and manipulation. Then, they are taken from their homes and are forced into horrible conditions. They are treated like objects, not living organisms. Then they are shipped in even worse conditions with other people and animals that are in the same predicament as them.

Sometimes officers manage to seize these illegal shipments and save these victims, but most times they escape unchecked. For those animals that survive this torturous process, they are either given to the buyer or left to sit in their containers because the order got cancelled.

The animals that are given to the buyer usually don’t live good lives because the ‘owner’ doesn’t know how to care for such an animal. They don’t understand how the animal behaves and what they’re needs are, or they feed them an unhealthy diet. These animals also haven’t been put in the proper conditions, so on top of carrying diseases that we don’t give vaccines for, they contract other viruses that their keepers catch because the proper safety precautions weren’t taken and they were taken from the wild.

The animal(s) that make it to their buyer(s) end up in the same place, in the animal afterlife. Some die on their own from neglect or abuse, others are dropped off at zoos or animal hospitals where they are usually euthanized, or the keeper leaves them on the side of the road. All of these options end up with the animal dying long before it should.

What I’m trying to say is that animals are put through Hell to be forced into something they didn’t want to be. I want an exotic pet just as bad as everyone else. But I know that these animals are prisoners of a sick world.

I believe that if people stop buying illegal animals that the trade will die down and eventually come to an end. Do your part and stop illegal animal trafficking.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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