Sunday, May 29, 2011

Cheetahs as Exotic Pets

Recently in the United Arab Emerates there have been some stories of Cheetahs suffering as exotic pets.  These tales should serve as a warning for anyone considering getting such a wild cat for a pet.

In the UAE, Cheetahs, and other exotic pets, are often kept on the rooftops of buildings, often on chains.  In a recent story which made news May 29, 2011, a Cheetah cub, about seven months old, was found wandering the streets with an injured front paw.  The Al Rahma Animal Welfare and Resuce Society speculates that the big cat's paw was injured in a fall, or jump, from its roof top home.  Additionally it had a metal chain around its neck.  Very likely the cat had been on a chain, which may have broken, or been cut, when the animal fell, or broke some other way.

At any rate the cheetah cub was found in the Karama district of Abu Dhabi, and later sent to a wildlife rescue place.

This cheetah was not the first exotic pet, or big cat, to make news in the area, sadly it is only one of many, including cases where smugglers have been caught with kittens, and and even worse recent case where officials saved two lions from a home where both were suffering in horrid condition as the result of neglect, and abuse.  Both lions had been declawed, as well their teeth had been filed down and had become infected.

Read More on the Cheetah's Rescue and see a Picture.
Al Rahma Animal Rescue in Abu Dhabi - Facebook Page

Over all if you are thinking that a big cat is a good pet... think again.  These cats require a lot of meat, they need a lot of space, and they are dangerous.  Even if well handled they have a potential to harm, as well the human lifestyle is not at all natural for such an animal.  Cheetahs, need to run, they were made to stretch their limbs and run.  They are not status symbols.  A far more suitable pet would be a greyhound, or Bengal Cat.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Tiger Mom and the Piglets

Sometime in 2006 an e-mail circulated about a female tiger nursing piglets to overcome her depression at the loss of her tiger cubs. 

I remember seeing this in 2007 and later did a search on it only to discover the whole thing was a fake.  The truth was a little depressing.

The tiger mom and the piglets were part of an entertainment feature at the Sriracha Zoo in Thailand.  This zoo is noted for having a tiger breeding program in which cubs are raised to be used in circuses or for sale to other zoos.  As such the cubs are probably taken from their mothers at a very young age and raised by people - or placed with a sow for equal entertainment value, at least for the hours people visit the zoo. 

The zoo went so far as to dress the piglets like tigers, but apparently this was also just for show, as the tiger skins were removed after the zoo closed.

one of the pictures from the circulated e-mail
To say if this is cruel or not is a person's own opinion.  It certainlly is not natural, although there have been some true stories where animals of one species raise young of an other (rarely a dog may raise a kitten, or young squirrels).  Nutritionally one would have to assume both the piglets and the tiger cubs were also fed special formula for their species.  In some cases visitors were allowed to bottle feed the young animals.  The Srirahca Tiger zoo would not be a place I would have on the top of my list to visit. 

It is interesting to note that there are currently more tigers in captivity than in the wild, yet many of the captive tigers are inbred to the point they have health issues, and short lifespans.

Further Reading On Pet Tigers and Zoos

Facts on Pet Tigers

So... You want a Pet Tiger... Other ways of having a Pet

Issues of Zoos

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Slow Loris is an Illegal Pet

The slow loris is a primate that has gained attention through a few YouTube videos.  As so often happens when "cute animal" videos come out, somebody insists they want to obtain that animal as a pet.  The slow loris, however, should not be kept as a pet. 

Slow loris are native to southeast Asia where it is illegal to capture them from the wild; owning them, and selling them, is also illegal.   Many slow loris are poached from the wild for the purpose of resale in bird and pet markets, or are shipped to other countries for sale in pet stores.  In these stores they are often listed as being "captive bred" however this is usually not the case, but nearly impossible to prove.  Even if they were captive bred, the parent animals were stolen illegally from the wild.

File:Myanmar Illicit Endangered Wildlife Market 06.jpg

photo source

The real cruelty is the fact that slow loris are put at risk by having their teeth pulled, or cut, before they become part of the exotic pet trade.  If rescued from markets they cannot be returned to the wild because without teeth survival is difficult.

The slow loris has a poisonous bite.  To deal with this the poachers will cut their teeth with pliers or nail clippers, or yank them out.  Veterinarians are not involved because aiding the poachers would be illegal.  The poor little animals are given no pain killers, and nothing to fight infection.  Many slow loris stop eating as a result of the pain, or die from infection.  There is no way of knowing just how many slow loris die, but estimates suggest that many get infections which are often fatal and others die of stress or malnutrition.

photo source

Make no mistake, the slow loris, although cute, should not be part of the exotic pet trade. If you happen to see a slow loris for sale in an illegal pet market, DO NOT buy it, this only rewards the seller.  Rather you are suggested to call police or other animal welfare authorities, who will take the animal and place it in a rescue.  This hurts the seller and hopefully they will stop their involvement in the cruel trade of this beautiful animal.

Please read more about the Slow Loris .

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mothers Day, Pictures of Cute Baby Animals

Mother's Day is celebrated on different days all over the world, here in Canada, Mother's day is the first Sunday in May.  To celebrate this day I wanted so share with you some pictures of cute baby animals and their mothers.

photo source
A baby horse is called a foal, it is either a filly, if female, or colt, if male.  Learn more about Horses and Foaling

A baby llama is called a cria. Learn more about Llamas

photo source
Baby hamsters are called pups,  you can read more about Hamsters as Pets

photo source
Baby cats are called kittens, their mother is a queen.  Read more about How Cats have Kittens.

photo source
This is a mother dog,  her babies are called puppies, the act of giving birth in dogs is called whelping.  Read more on Whelping

Happy Mothers Day!

Note:  Although baby animals are cute, you should not let your pet breed unless you have qualified people looking to take the off spring.  This is particularly true of cats and dogs, as in the United States over 4 million excess pets are produced every year, and are euthanized.  Keep in mind that not every female animal wants to be a mother, and some will not survive the pregnancy or giving birth.  Sometimes mother animals will not care for their young, and you have to be a foster parent.