How the Internet Affects the Exotic Trade

As you scroll through Tik-Tok, Instagram, Facebook, or other social media platforms, it has become a common norm to see […]

As you scroll through Tik-Tok, Instagram, Facebook, or other social media platforms, it has become a common norm to see exotic animals inside of people’s homes. These animals are typically being forced to do some crazy thing. You might even see famous people holding or petting one of these animals. As a result, this makes a lot of people want to do the exact same thing. In a post that makes these wild animals seem docile and tame, the phrase “I want to pet a(n) (exotic animal)” is normally seen.

When a person thinks of an exotic animal, they normally think of wild cats like tigers or servals, but also dangerous snakes, sugar gliders, or monkeys. An exotic animal is something unusual or rare to have as a pet. People buy these animals to make themselves look interesting or cool. The internet has become a medium for communication and creating connections around the world. This has made the process easier to obtain an exotic animal. Millions of people visit these social media platforms every day and it has caused an increase in demand for exotic animals. People see these videos with animals like tigers, servals, and monkeys doing something unusual or cute. These videos then end up going viral, but at what cost?

The internet not only gives a platform for owners to share and show off their unique “pet” but it provides a simple and easy way to advertise the sale of those said animals. They end up having little to no concern about getting in any trouble. That is because there is weak enforcement on social media platforms in preventing this behavior and what is being posted. This creates more photos and videos to be posted that can be harming to those exotic animals.

The Study

To see how many of these posts are out there, Born Free USA completed a study in 2016. This study found over 2,000 online classified ads across 4 different websites during a 3-month period from March to June. With all of those ads, the volume of the advertised animals was even more; at least 3,706 individual exotic animals were listed for sale. The locations of these ads were showing sellers in 49 different states. Out of all the animals, the main species listed were primates (603), exotic cats (335), canids (439), and snakes (263). About 55% of the total animals listed were just under a year old.

With this number a little over half, this means exotic pet breeders are forcing these animals to breed over and over again just to produce little ones. Now a lot of these animals were bred in captivity, but there are people who take these animals from the wild just to make more money. Because of this, the wild animal populations have declined at extreme rates. People tend to not want a full-grown animal after it shows its wild tendencies. Animals who are forced into this lifestyle often suffer from abuse and neglect.

So, the next time you see a video of a wild animal living in someone’s home as a “pet”, do some research on that account. I encourage you to always think twice before clicking share to help protect and save these animals. Feel free to visit our website for any more information on what you can do to ensure these animals are out of people’s homes and where they belong! Remember Predators NOT Pets!


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