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Exotic Animals

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  • Magazine Article

    Where the wild things shouldn’t be

    For more than a decade, Ginger and five other servals lived in a dark basement. Their owner surrendered them to Big Cat Rescue after she fell ill and could no longer keep them.

    Forcing exotic animals to suffer as pets endangers their well-being—and the safety of the people around them


    Imagine tigers and cobras and monkeys—in basements, garages and backyards. These situations are far too common in the United States. What might start out as a misdirected desire to be close to wild animals can lead to dangerous situations for people and heartbreaking outcomes for the animals, who suffer when their needs aren’t met in captivity. In the best-case scenario, they end up at reputable sanctuaries, but those can take in only a fraction of the animals needing homes. While advocates struggle to care for the exotic pet industry’s castoffs, they’re also pushing for legislation to curb the private ownership of should-be-wild animals.

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