Join our zoo community


Discussion in 'General Zoo Discussion' started by zooman, 29 Sep 2010.

  1. zooman

    zooman Well-Known Member

    4 Jul 2008
    Quoted from

    A Study of Captive Wildlife in the United States
    As recently as the 1960's, the problem of surplus animals was minimal. Traffic in captive
    wildlife was limited to a small group of breeders/dealers and wildlife photographers who
    produced animals for documentary programs such as Disney, Wild Kingdom, and other
    wildlife series.
    The Hollywood animal industry was just beginning to burgeon, due to the popularity of
    such television shows as "Flipper," "Gentle Ben," "Daktari," "Cowboy in Africa," and
    many more. Unfortunately for the animals, money-hungry entrepreneurs saw an
    opportunity to make big bucks by exploiting the public's love of animals. In fact, it was
    Ivan Tors, producer of several of the aforementioned television shows, who first had the
    idea to capture an orca for a theme park. Now approximately 1620 dolphins and whales
    have been captured for exhibition in hotels and theme parks around the world in the name
    of entertainment. Hundreds have died.
    To capitalize on the Hollywood animal craze, a small group of middlemen surfaced who
    bartered for or purchased surplus animals from zoos to supply film productions, animal
    trainers, and theme parks. During the sixties, the zoo community was breeding
    excessively and randomly in order to produce "cute" baby animals for public display and
    as an incentive for people to visit their institutions. Zoos utilized these roving middle men
    because they were an effective means of disposing of the "cute" little babies at the end of
    the season-when they weren't cute anymore. The cycle of "surplus" animals had begun.
    After the passage of the Endangered Species Act in 1973, the rapid growth of the hunting
    ranch industry in the United States virtually "institutionalized" the surplus breeding of
    exotic animals.
    The federal restrictions on hunting endangered species in the wild created, first in Texas
    and then around the country, the proliferation of hunting "ranches" where wealthy
    individuals could pay to hunt animals they could no longer hunt in the wild. Cattle
    ranchers, who had suffered financial setbacks, converted large tracts of land to the
    breeding of African antelope and other rare animals. The "Texotic" hunting ranch
    industry spread rapidly across the nation until there were hunting ranches in virtually
    every state in the union.
    During the past three decades, a multi-layered phenomenon has been created that feeds
    off itself and is self-perpetuating. We are dubbing this the "cycle of hell" for surplus
    Today, this "cycle" of surplus animals is a multi-billion dollar industry that is burgeoning
    out of control. The purpose of this study is to examine the various aspects of the very
    complicated problem of surplus wildlife, which ranges from captive breeding programs in
    high profile zoos to backyard breeders and roadside menageries. This "cycle of hell" is
    responsible for the misery and death of hundreds of thousands of animals each year.
    The term "surplus" animal has been defined in many ways. In zoos and Species Survival
    Plan (SSP) programs, the term is usually applied to an animal which has "made its
    genetic contribution to a managed population and is not essential for future scientific
    studies or to maintain social-group stability or traditions." The term is also applied to an
    animal which is "no longer compatible with its social group" for various behavioral or
    health reasons. "Surplus" animals are not only created by zoos but also by the pet trade,
    by the hunting ranch industry, by Hollywood movies and television shows, by roadside
    exhibits, by circuses, and by the drug trade.
    Captive breeding programs in the United States were initially spawned by zoos. In
    disposing of the surplus animals created by their in-house breeding programs, these zoos
    began the practice of "trading" animals with itinerant animal dealers. These dealers would
    actually drive from zoo to zoo, picking up surplus and trading animals from the backs of
    their trucks. Eventually, this practice became lucrative enough for them to purchase
    property in such states as Missouri and Arkansas so that they could take the animals not
    traded to a central location. There they would often be bred and their progeny sold to the
    general public, to exhibitors, or traded from the backs of the same trucks their parents had
    been brought in on.
    Today, captive breeding programs in major zoos have undergone some drastic changes.
    Most ethical zoos have curtailed breeding of species like lions and many sub-species of
    tigers. Furthermore, most zoos have become increasingly aware of public scrutiny of their
    exotic hoofstock programs. One reason for the growing public awareness is the expose
    that aired on the television program "60 Minutes" in 1990. That program documented the
    sale of surplus endangered animals such as scimitar-horned oryx and other rare species of
    antelope by the San Diego Wild Animal Park to dealer Earl Tatum who, in turn, sold the
    animals to hunting ranches. This national media attention caused much negative publicity
    for San Diego Wild Animal Park and, subsequently, generated a great deal of caution at
    other zoos. But it certainly didn't stop the problem. just a few weeks later, the San Diego
    Zoo sold three mouflon to the Catskill Game Farm and during the next few months, that
    zoo sold more than 50 animals to dealers who have been connected to auctions and
    hunting ranches.
    Today, most zoos have Species Survival Plan (SSP) programs which are, according to the
    explanation of the zoo community, sophisticated programs of maintaining valuable gene
    pools so that endangered species may be preserved for future generations through captive
    breeding. It is important to remember, though, that every SSP produces surplus. PAWS
    has no ethical disagreement with the written description of SSP's. But their practical
    application is often quite disturbing. It is not the purpose of this study to explore the
    many weak areas of Species Survival Plan programs. But it is necessary to point out that
    these programs have a dangerous tendency to focus on "the species" and forget about "the
    individual." PAWS believes that animals produced by zoos remain the responsibility of
    those zoos for their entire lives. They should be protected and nurtured in the
    communities in which they were born. Unfortunately, that is usually not the case. SSP
    animals often end up in circuses, roadside zoos, or Hollywood films.
    It is also important to note that some zoos exploit the concept of saving endangered
    animals and use it is an excuse to breed "novelty" animals such as white tigers. Such
    institutions are actually breeding genetic freaks-not endangered species-animals which
    would never have survived in the wild. It was the Cincinnati Zoo, for example, which
    was instrumental in creating the now burgeoning demand for white tigers.
    Portland Zoo and the Story of Stoney
    Perhaps the most inexcusable misuse of
    an SSP breeding plan is that of the
    Metro Washington Park Zoo in
    Portland, Oregon. That zoo has long
    been touted as the foremost breeder of
    Asian elephants. In fact, though, the
    Portland zoo has a terrible history of
    surplusing baby elephants born there
    into the private sector and to circuses
    and traveling shows. In 1995, an
    expose of that zoo's elephant breeding
    program showed that more than half
    the elephants born there are now dead.
    Of the 27 elephants born at that zoo
    since the 1960's, only 10 were alive at
    that time. Furthermore, according to guidelines adopted by the zoo in 1986, that facility is
    not supposed to sell or trade any of its animals to institutions that are not members of the
    SSP. Circuses do not participate in SSP programs. Nevertheless, a baby elephant named
    Chang Dee was traded to Ringling Brothers Circus when he was only a year old. In fact,
    according to the SSP Studbook at in 1995 some elephants born at the Portland Zoo had
    been traded three or four times. Portland's Michael Keele has remarked that "the
    Studbook should follow and keep track of them" but that sometimes "these big gray
    things just disappear."
    The story of the elephant Stoney is, without a doubt, one of the saddest and most horrific
    examples of what can happen to an elephant who is "dumped" from a captive breeding
    program. Stoney was born at the Portland Zoo in 1973 and was sold to animal trainer
    Mike La Torres when he was three years old. Stoney worked for the rest of his life. In
    September, 1994, while warming up backstage at the Luxor Hotel and Gambling Hall in
    Las Vegas, Stoney was seriously injured. He pulled a ham-string muscle in his left rear
    leg while being forced to do a hind leg stand. Stoney was unable to walk. The injury was
    serious and Stoney should have had immediate veterinary attention. Instead, LaTorres
    and hotel officials forced him, screaming, into a dumpster, which they dragged across the
    hotel parking lot and into a maintenance shed behind the hotel.
    Because he could not walk or stand, Stoney was kept in a mechanical metal device called
    a "crush." He was kept in isolation with only brief visits from his trainer for several
    months while the hotel attempted to find a place to send him.
    When PAWS heard rumors that the multimillion dollar Luxor Hotel was keeping an
    elephant in its maintenance shed, we attempted to determine the extent of the elephant's
    injuries and to set plans in motion to improve his situation. Several attempts were made
    to meet with hotel officials but the hotel assured PAWS that the situation was under
    control. PAWS then appealed to the USDA. Again, no action was taken.
    A USDA inspector's report from August shows the horrific conditions in which Stoney
    lived and died That report indicated that there was
    1) a "considerable build-up of feces odor in the animal barn which is also noticeable from
    outside the building;" 2) "a build-up of flies near the rear of the animal's crush;" and, 3)
    "no information in the animal's medical log to indicate daily physical therapy sessions."
    The report also noted that the "animal's current diet consists of grass, hay, and grain.
    Animal is not currently receiving any fresh produce or other supplements due to lack of
    In 1995, PAWS filed a lawsuit against the USDA regarding Stoney and other elephants in
    peril. The lawsuit was an attempt to force the USDA to enforce the Animal Welfare Act;
    to confiscate elephants like Stoney who are in immediate physical distress; and to act to
    relive their suffering. PAWS appealed again to the Luxor, demanding an immediate
    veterinary appraisal of Stoney's condition. PAWS even offered to foot the bill. But the
    hotel refused to cooperate.
    Finally, on August 28th, 1995, fearing bad publicity, the Luxor Hotel attempted to move
    Stoney secretly to an elephant breeding farm in Arkansas. According to eye witness
    reports, the attempt to release him from the mechanical device was botched and, unable
    to stand, Stoney fell. Animal advocates keeping a vigil outside Stoney's enclosure heard
    his prolonged screams. His trainer entered the room and Stoney reached out his trunk to
    him. LaTorres said, "Cut it out, Stoney," and moved away from the stricken elephant..
    For more than 24 hours, hotel officials attempted to get Stoney to stand. His screams
    could be heard outside the shed. Finally, after more than an entire day of suffering,
    Stoney died.
    Stoney's suffering and death are the direct result of the system which allows captive born
    elephants to be sold to circuses and traveling shows. Once these animals are unable to
    perform and "earn a living," they are dumped. Most, like Stoney, face slow, miserable
    Busch Gardens and the Story of Mickey
    Another captive breeding facility that surpluses baby
    elephants is Busch Gardens, a facility which was at
    one time producing baby elephants at the rate of one
    or two per year! These elephants were then being
    shipped out to a ranch in Texas where they were
    broken and trained for performing. One of the saddest
    and most notorious disasters of the Busch Gardens
    program is the story of baby Mickey. He was born at
    Busch Gardens and was sold before he was a year old
    to a company that provides elephants for shows and
    rides. At a time when wild elephants would normally
    be under the constant care of their mothers or their
    aunts, baby Mickey was forced into the nightmare of
    abusive training. He soon developed stereotypic
    behaviors such as head-bobbing, rocking, and
    swaying. By 1994, Mickey was on the road with the
    King Royal Circus, a small touring company based in
    On September 17, 1994, Mickey was performing with King Royal in Lebanon, Oregon
    when he refused to perform a trick and attempted to run from the big top. His trainer,
    Bela Tabak, then disciplined him by jabbing him repeatedly with a sharp bull hook while
    the baby screamed in pain. A spectator, Cathy Beemer, videotaped the incident which
    was later reported to the police. "All the baby elephant did was turn around and that guy
    started gouging him in the neck with this wooden tool that had an awful metal hook on
    the end," she said. "We definitely saw blood gushing out of the front of his leg where a
    puncture wound was." Another spectator said, "I have never heard a scream in my life
    like the scream of that baby elephant... He was screaming and trying to crawl away on his
    hands and knees like a human being."
    The September 17th incident was reported to the USDA by PAWS and several other
    humane societies. The inspection report from the USDA inspector in the field virtually
    begged for action. But no action was taken by the USDA to alleviate Mickey's condition,
    even though another incident occurred in October of the same year. This time, Mickey
    wrapped his trunk around the neck of a 3-year-old girl and attempted to pull her into the
    After the airing of Mickey’s plight on a television show, “The Crusaders”, Mickey’s
    name was changed and, despite PAWS’ efforts to free him, he has disappeared.
    No Place to Go
    The zoo community must address the issue of whether it serves elephants and other
    animals as a species to continue captive breeding programs that produce individuals like
    Stoney and Mickey who become nothing more than performing robots. Indeed, every
    SSP must address the compelling question of what purpose is served by the breeding of
    baby animals if there is no hope of reintroducing them or their progeny into the wild.
    What You Can Do
    Don't buy into the public relations argument that saving endangered species is a
    justification for captive breeding. Responsible breeding entails more than just producing
    offspring. It must involve providing for animals and their progeny for the rest of their
    lives; a long-term plan for habitat protection; and a long-term plan for reintroduction of
    species into the wild. Question your local zoo's policy about captive breeding. Request a
    report of births at your local zoo and ascertain where they will live when they are adults.
    Circuses and traveling animal shows have existed in the United States since the 1700's. In
    fact, 1996 marked the 200th anniversary of the importation of the first elephant into this
    country. Two hundred years of animals in "entertainment" has entrenched the industry
    into our culture and our history. A new movement within the circus community has the
    potential to entrench it even more. Circuses are attempting to justify and legitimize their
    breeding and use of rare animals by allying themselves with endangered species breeding
    programs in high profile zoos and affiliated universities. Through such alliances, circuses
    are gaining a kind of credibility heretofore denied them. Ringling Brothers and Carson
    and Barnes circuses have
    their own elephant breeding
    programs and exchange
    data,sperm and elephants
    with zoos which have
    similar programs.
    (photo from The White
    Tops, official publication of
    Circus Fans Ass. Of
    America (Jan/Feb1997)
    Sometimes animals who are surplused by zoos end up in traveling shows. One of the
    saddest stories of an elephant who was dumped from a zoo to a circus is that of the
    elephant, Lota. She was captured when she was not yet four years old ; the hunters who
    captured her probably killed her mother and the rest of her family . She was immediately
    sold to the Milwaukee County Zoo for $3,500 and shipped from southern India to
    Wisconsin. For the next 36 years, she remained in a small, uncomfortable enclosure with
    a concrete floor. She and the two other elephants who shared the enclosure with her all
    developed stereotypic behaviors. Their feet cracked and their legs became disfigured by
    the constant chaining.
    Opinions differ about why the Milwaukee Zoo decided in 1990 to "dump" Lota. Some
    think that it was because they, like most zoos, have no use for aging elephants who are no
    longer cute. Others say the decision was made because Lota became increasingly
    aggressive with Tamara, one of the other elephants in the enclosure. Whatever the reason,
    Zoo officials contacted elephant management consultant, Don Meyer, to help them get rid
    of Lota. Meyer had close ties to the circus community, and he arranged the transfer of
    Lota from the Zoo to the Hawthorn Corporation, an Illinois-based company which, at that
    time, leased elephants to circuses and traveling shows.
    Elephant keepers know that elephants must be gradually conditioned to do activities, such
    as loading into a truck, but Lota was given no advance conditioning for the move.
    Consequently, loading her into the truck that would take her to the Hawthorn facility in
    Illinois was a disaster. Spectators from the local press related accounts of a chaotic
    situation in which Lota was beaten into a terrified state and finally, after falling onto her
    head and trunk more than once, was loaded, bleeding from many wounds, defecating,
    and urinating blood. After a stressful trip, she was taken to the Hawthorn facility's barn to
    be trained for performance although that corporation assured concerned citizens in
    Milwaukee that she would never perform in a circus. In January, 1992, a humane
    investigator saw Lota at the Hawthorn facility. She was chained in an indoor enclosure
    and had no continuous access to water. In fact, food and water were given only as
    rewards. She was learning tricks in a mocked-up circus training ring: learning to run
    around the ring in
    clockwise and
    circles and stand on
    Nothing more was
    heard of Iota until
    investigators from
    PAWS "discovered"
    Lota in October, 1995
    performing with the
    Walker Brothers
    Circus in Sarasota,
    Florida. Although
    circus employees were calling her Lottie, it was clear that she was the same Lota from the
    Milwaukee Zoo. PAWS' investigators spoke with the circus owner John Walker on
    videotape, confirming that she had come from the Milwaukee Zoo and had been leased to
    him by Hawthorn Corporation. Walker said that Lota had great difficulty adjusting to life
    on the road. PAWS investigators observed several performances of Walker Brothers'
    show. Lota was required to perform a stringent battery of tricks, including hind leg
    stands; sitting on a stool with front legs raised; and walking with her front legs on another
    elephant's back. Investigators noted that day, as well as on subsequent viewings, that Lota
    looked underweight, tired, and drawn. In addition, there was a discharge from her right
    eye and her feet had many cracks and fissures. She constantly alternated holding one foot
    then another off the ground.
    In August, 1996, two elephants owned by the Hawthorn Corporation died of tuberculosis
    while performing with Circus Vargas in southern California. It was later discovered that
    14 of the 18 elephants in the Hawthorn herd were similarly infected. Lota, too, tested
    positive for tuberculosis.
    In 2005,After years of suffering, Lota was released to an elephant sanctuary. She died a
    few weeks later.
    Support local, state and federal legislation to ban the use of exotic animals in circuses and
    traveling shows. Monitor the movement of elephants and other animals into and out of
    your local zoo.
    There are between 50-60 drive-through wildlife parks in the United States. Although
    these facilities are cleverly set-up to look like animal havens, they are really little more
    than warehouses for animals. The public is often deceived into believing that drivethrough
    parks provide freedom and natural habitat for animals, but car fumes, tourists,
    and constant interruption of their natural activities is often stressful. These parks serve as
    a breeding ground, feeding a continuous
    supply of exotic animals into the
    wildlife trade. When the animal
    population grows too large, owners will
    often clear surplus animals out by
    running them through auctions.
    Breeding restarts immediately with a
    fresh new crop of breeders, and the
    cycle of hell continues. The worst
    disaster from drive-through parks-which
    depend on the vicissitudes of the tourist
    dollar- is bankruptcy. When that
    happens, all the animals and their
    progeny are suddenly put on the auction
    block. Catskill Game Farm, a long time
    tourist attraction and breeding farm in
    upstate New York, is currently in
    bankruptcy and hundreds of animals are
    slated for the auctioneer’s block.
    Samantha, a mountain lion cub, was
    born at Wild Wilderness, a drivethrough
    animal park in Gentry,
    Arkansas. Because Samantha was
    considered "surplus," she was sold to a
    family of tourists for $400 dollars.
    Samantha was sold, just like a dog or
    cat, to people who had no knowledge of
    or expertise in the care of exotic animals. They intended to keep her as a domestic pet
    and, although their intentions may have been good, they did all the wrong things.
    Samantha already had a calcium deficiency because she had been pulled away from her
    mother at such an early age. The family to whom she was sold fed her ordinary cat food
    and table scraps. Soon, she became crippled because of the calcium deficiency and the
    lack of other vital nutrients. She was unable to walk. Her back legs were completely
    useless and she could only drag herself weakly from room to room. Samantha's condition
    was so severe that she screamed when anyone touched her. Local animal protectionists
    convinced Samantha's owners to let her be transferred to PAWS, where she was put on an
    emergency diet and kept inactive. By the time she arrived at
    PAWS, she couldn't move her hindquarters at all and there was fear that her front legs
    would soon be as weak as her back legs. But Samantha was strong-willed and wanted to
    live. After two months, she was finally strong enough to regain partial use of her back
    legs. After six months, she was up and about, playing and acting like a "normal"
    mountain lion. Today, there is no evidence of her physical problems, as she races back
    and forth in her grassy enclosure. Samantha's story is now frequently featured on
    nationally syndicated television shows and newspaper articles, through which the public
    is educated about the problem of surplus animals and the misuse of exotic animals as
    What You Can Do
    Drive-through parks breed
    animals that have no where to
    go. Furthermore, in-breeding
    often produces animals who,
    besides having no future, have
    poor health and genetic defects.
    Do not support drive-through
    parks. Let local schools, clubs,
    and children's associations
    know that these parks are NOT
    good places for field trips and
    other educational activities.
    There are dozens of animal auctions of varying sizes in the United States today. Some
    auctions are seasonal; others occur monthly.
    Exotic animal auctions represent a major contradiction in this country's attitude toward
    endangered species. Zoos constantly promote the breeding of rare animals, saying that
    breeding is necessary to engender respect for these endangered animals, preserve them
    for future generations and to educate the public. This image is in stark contradiction to
    the scene at an exotic auction, where entire herds of these "respected" animals are
    dragged, kicking and screaming, onto the auction block. It is ironic that captive breeding
    of allegedly "revered" species leads most of them to the ultimate degradation of the
    auction ring.
    Investigator's Notebook April 27, 1996 Jackson, Missouri
    As soon as we walk into the Arena, we are
    overwhelmed by the din and cacophony of animal
    noises and cries. It's as though each animal there is
    crying for help. We walk first into what is known as
    the "swap room" where caged animals are bought or
    traded. Every conceivable animal that will fit in a
    cage, and some that won't, are here: monkeys, ducks,
    geese, peacocks, lemurs, wallabies, coyotes, bobcats,
    bear cubs, bushbabies, domestic kittens, parrots,
    chickens, swans. The sound and smell is
    overwhelming. We walk among the cages, feeling
    helpless and angry.
    At 9 a.m., we go inside and sit in the first circle of
    chairs around the auction ring. The auctioneer's loud
    voice is garbled by the overly loud PA system that
    crackles and blares. The animals are dragged or
    shoved out into the ring- single or in pairs,
    sometimes in families. They stand there, some
    angry, some terrified, some desperate enough to
    charge at the semi-circular fence between them and
    the audience. They are all beautiful and they are all
    doomed: nilgai, blackbuck, oryx, buffalo, zebra,
    gemsbok, camels, and on and on. One little family of
    nilgai, knees shaking, stood very still, the father
    bravely shielding the mother and kid. We watch
    while men wearing caps with hunting ranch insignias
    eye the animals carefully and then silently raise their
    bidding cards. Hours go by... an endless parade of
    animals that will soon be trophies.
    Outside, a young girl is strolling with a baby bear on
    a leash. The bear is dressed in baby clothes: a little
    red and white ruffled outfit. The girl tells me the
    baby bear still has her teeth and her claws. I wonder
    at what point she won't have them anymore. A man standing near me admires the bear
    then says to his companion, "I wouldn't want to see some of the places that bear'll be
    going before it finally ends up back here. "
    In the swap room, I notice a small, cage sitting in an isolated corner of the dirt floor
    between a thin and terrified coyote and several cages of untamed, snarling bobcats. I
    kneel down and look in and find that it's a wallaby. He's too big for the carrier and can't
    stand or move around. He has no water. I tell one of the men in charge of the swap room
    about his condition and, after about an hour of unsuccessfully searching for the wallaby's
    owner, the man in charge comes over to see what all my complaints are about. He looks
    in the cage and says, "You're right, he's not going to make it. " He tells me to drive to the
    nearest town, find a K-mart, and buy the largest size cat carrier I can find. I do as be says.
    Within two hours, we have the wallaby transferred out of the filthy, cramped carrier and
    into a bigger one. I see that he gets some water, a carrot, and an apple that I buy at a local
    7-11. 1 do all this as discreetly as possible, trying not to act too concerned about his wellbeing.
    Then I leave him there on the dirt floor for the night with all the others ... hungry,
    thirsty, miserable.
    Investigator's Notebook May 17, 1996 Lampasas, Texas
    We've been sitting here for hours watching the seemingly endless procession of exotic
    animals be shoved, prodded, pushed, and kicked into the auction ring. We're sitting in the
    second row, among all the "killer buyers " who are snatching these animals up to be used
    on bunting ranches.
    Even in the snack bar, there is no escape. A woman sipping a cup of coffee opens her
    fanny back and pulls out an endangered ringtail lemur. Amid all the noise and confusion,
    the poor animal is terrified and clings to her neck, trying to get away from the prying
    bands of curious spectators. Then she says, "Well, this isn't the only baby I have with me
    today. " She reaches into the purse and pulls out an African bushbaby, big-eyed and
    shaking in the palm of her band. She tells us that she's selling the lemur and the bushbaby
    for $1600 each. " How did you get involved in this business? " I ask her. " Oh, " she
    said, "I didn't have any experience. I just got a pair of breeders and let nature take it's
    course. I'm just learning as I go along. " She laughs.
    We walk into the swap room and I immediately notice that most of the animals don't have
    water in their cages. In fact, most of their water dishes are dry and dusty. I empty out the
    paper cup of coffee that I've been carrying around with me and, spotting a bucket of
    somewhat questionable water sitting In the corner, I fill my coffee cup with it and give it
    to a pair of swans who have been making quite a fuss. They drink it greedily, holding
    their long necks back and seeming to savor every drop. Obviously, what I have brought is
    not enough. I refill their dish three times before I seem to quench their thirst. But this is
    only the beginning. Almost all the other animals, especially the birds, need water. I start
    to work, smiling at the room's overseers as if I'm just an animal lover eager for this close
    contact. "Oh, " I chirp now and then, "what kind of bird is this? Isn't be beautiful?"
    Finally, a teenage girl comes up to me, takes the bucket and announces, "I'll do that." It
    turns out it's her job. Obviously, though, no one cares if she does it or not. She watches
    me watch her as she begins to go from cage to cage with water. After about 10 minutes,
    she sets the bucket down and drifts away. I go and get her and this time I watch her until
    all the water dishes have been filled.
    What You Can Do:
    Exotic animal auctions are proof that captive breeding programs don't work. Work on
    both a state and federal level to abolish auctions. If you live in a state where there are
    exotic animal auctions, attend them. Scrutinize them yourself for violations of the Animal
    Welfare Act. Report what you see to PAWS or to a local humane society.
    You may be surprised at some of the animals that are sold as "pets" to enthusiasts and
    hobbyists around the world. Large mammals such as tigers, bears, lions, bobcats, cougars,
    and lynx are among the favorites. Primates such as chimps, orangutans, and monkeys are
    also popular, as are miniature horses and donkeys, camels, alpacas, and even baby
    elephants. Sometimes ignorant buyers invest in an animal with no thought of the future.
    When the animal that was cute and manageable as a baby becomes a dangerous or
    uncontrollable adult, these former "pets" are often off-loaded to whatever convenient
    source presents itself. Some end up in roadside zoos or circuses. Others are curiosities in
    bars, truck stops or department stores. Many are
    simply abandoned.
    The pet industry has also created a huge market
    for small exotic animals, which are easier to keep
    as pets. Here are just some of the small exotic
    animals PAWS' investigators have observed at
    animal auctions and exotic animal fairs during an
    investigation in 1996-97: sugar gliders, wallabies,
    striped possums, short-tailed opossums,
    hedgehogs, armadillos, anteaters, two-toed sloths,
    pygmy mice, grass mice, spiny mice, sand rats,
    jirds, greater and lesser gerbils, pygmy gerbils,
    Jerboas, dormice, flying squirrels, prevost
    squirrels, Java squirrels, ground squirrels, prairie
    dogs, capybaras, springhaas, chinchillas, agoutis,
    Patagonian cavies, degus, African crested
    porcupines, fennec foxes, servals, caracals,
    bobcats, jungle cats, ringtails, kinkajous,
    coatimundis, binturongs, civets, gents, ferrets,
    aardvarks, hyraxes, and muntjacs. In addition,
    many of these animals are being bred for
    recessive genes for the dollars that such a novella
    will bring. We've recently seen albino wallabies,
    white camels, and white tigers. Hedgehogs now
    come in a rainbow assortment of colors including white, champagne, and cappuccino.
    Indeed, there is a burgeoning industry for "designer" pets. Short-legged "munchkin" cats
    sell for $3500 apiece. There is a current craze for curly haired "La Perm" cats and fuzzyhaired
    "ragdoll" cats. The fate of these animals is often worse than that of "ordinary”
    animals-when they are out of style they are often dumped in favor of a newer craze.
    The trade in protected, threatened, and endangered exotic animals is also a sky-rocketing
    industry. According to an article in the New York Times, "In recent years, only illegal
    drugs have outstripped the cash value of the living and dead wildlife that sluices through
    a black market toward trophy hunters, pet enthusiasts, and devotees of traditional
    medicines." A spokesperson in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's permits division
    estimates that the business is roughly equal to the illegal trade in smuggled weapons. In
    fact, the illegal trade in plants and animals around the world amounted to between $10
    and $20 billion last year. The U.S. is the largest buyer, spending more than $3 billion.
    Much of this money buys live "pets" that are pulled from the wild-animals such as
    snakes, exotic birds, and rare radiated tortoises. Once in the United States, these animals
    will be bred, if possible, and their offspring will join the already burgeoning number of
    surplus exotics.
    Boo-Boo, a black bear, was born in a breeding compound in Ohio. The place was little
    more than a bear "puppy mill," churning out baby bear cubs that had no where to go
    when they became adults. Boo-Boo was taken to a flea market where he was sold for $60
    to a man who thought the bear would be a cute "real live teddy bear" for his daughter
    Easter celebration. But Boo-Boo was a little too "real" for the family's expectations. They
    were not prepared for life with a young bear cub, who destroyed their belongings and
    who urinated and defecated on their furniture and their carpets. Having no experience
    with exotic animals, the family didn't know how to cope with Boo-Boo's needs or natural
    behaviors. They finally decided to put a collar on him and chain him to a tree. Unhappy
    and restricted by the chain, Boo-Boo started to become aggressive. The family, in turn,
    grew more afraid of him. Soon, there was little contact between Boo-Boo and his human
    family. They avoided him and even at meal times, they stood at a distance and tossed him
    his food. Boo-Boo continued to grow and the family was afraid to approach him. By the
    time local animal advocates saw Boo-Boo, the collar that had been put on him as a cub
    was imbedded at least 1 inch into his neck.
    Boo-Boo was rescued by a member of a local
    humane society who, seeing his pitiful
    condition, bought him for several hundred
    dollars. She then called PAWS and we agreed
    to give Boo-Boo sanctuary. Boo-Boo's collar
    was surgically removed from his neck. His
    nutritional needs were given high priority and
    he was placed in a large, grassy enclosure
    where he could both run and climb. Although
    PAWS is very happy that Boo-Boo has been
    removed from the horrific circumstances in
    which he was found, we cannot stress strongly
    enough that it is NEVER a good idea to buy an animal out of a bad situation. Buying an
    animal only encourages the individuals involved in the animal exploitation to continue in
    their ignorance. It is imperative, instead, that we attempt to find out where the animal in a
    bad situation came from; who is breeding animals; who is selling them; and what can be
    done to stop the problem at its source. Certainly it is important to remove the animal from
    abuse, but offering the animal's owner any sort of financial incentive to relinquish the
    animal will only encourage him to acquire other unfortunate animals later.
    There is no excuse for the exotic pet trade. It is cruel to animals; it is a public danger; and
    it has the potential for spreading diseases such as salmonella, herpes and TB. Don't
    patronize the pet trade. Support local, federal and state ordinances to ban the keeping of
    exotic animals as pets.
    A "canned" hunt is any hunt that takes place in a manmade enclosure- a field, a pasture, a
    cage-in which animals are artificially confined and unable to escape. In many cases, the
    hunted animals are tame, often bottle-raised from babyhood and imprinted with humans.
    Canned hunts were once limited to Texas but can now be found in virtually every state in
    the union. Because there is little supervision of these facilities, it is nearly impossible to
    estimate how many hunting ranches are currently in existence. Best estimates say that
    there are at least several thousand places around the nation where canned hunts can be
    arranged. There are at least 500 hunting ranches in Texas alone. For the right price,
    hunters can go to these facilities and use virtually any weapon to kill a wide variety of
    exotic animals: buffalo, antelope, oryx, bears, zebras, even rhinos. Because of the
    continuously expanding market for exotics for canned hunts, many ranchers have stopped
    raising cattle and started breeding exotics. These animals are often taken to exotic animal
    auctions-strategically located in nearly every region of the country-where canned hunt
    operators can pick out and bid on the specific animals they want for their clients.
    Some of the country's most respected zoos have sold animals directly to hunting ranches;
    others sell to dealers-who, in turn, sell to canned hunts-or to auctions which canned hunt
    operators are known to patronize. Other common sources of animals for canned hunts
    include the Hollywood film and television industry; backyard breeders; and drive-through
    wildlife parks.
    In 1990, a "60 Minutes" program brought the connection between zoos and hunting
    ranches into the public eye for the first time when it revealed that animals from the San
    Diego Zoo were going to auctions and canned hunts. According to a report by the
    Humane Society of the United States, from 1952 until at least 1991, the San Diego Zoo
    sold more than a hundred animals directly to the Catskill Game Farm in New York state.,
    a facility that once dealt directly with hunting ranches. The San Diego Zoo has sold
    animals to dealers and directly to hunting ranches. After the “60 Minutes” program aired,
    the Zoo released a statement saying that it would immediately syspend relations with
    anyone who is proven to be a participant in the sale of Zoological Society of San Diego
    animals to hunts or auctions. Nevertheless, a few weeks later, the Zoo sold three
    Armenian mouflon to the Catskill Game Farm and continued to sell animals to dealers
    connected with the hunting ranch industry. The San Diego Zoo is certainly not the only
    Zoo that sells to hunting ranches or to dealers who supply them. In the late 1980’s and
    1990’, according to an HSUS report, zoos which have sold animals either directly or
    indirectly to canned hunts include: the Los Angeles Zoo, the San Francisco Zoo, the
    National Zoo, Busch Gardens, Colorado's Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, the Lowry Park Zoo,
    the Suwannee Valley Zoo, the Lincoln Park Zoo, the St. Louis Zoo, the Kansas City Zoo,
    New Jersey's Great Adventure Park, Lake George Zoological Park, the Buffalo
    Zoological Gardens, the Seneca Park Zoo, the Oklahoma City Zoo, the Memphis Zoo, the
    Houston Zoo, and, certainly, the San Antonio Zoo, whose Board of Directors represents
    strong ties to hunting ranches. The adverse publicity generated by the report prompted
    better AZA (American Zoo Associatiion) guidelines governing acquisition and
    disposition policies for zoo animals.
    The problem is simple: captive breeding is not conservation, and it produces a huge
    surplua of animals with nowhere to go. Incidents of injuries and deaths caused by exotic
    pets are escalating and federal and state agencies are unable to cope with the growing
    number of homeless lions, tigers and bears. Zoos are breeding more animals than they
    have room for and other facets of the animal industry, including circuses/the pet
    industry/the entertainment industry, are following suit. A curator at the Memphis zoo
    remarked about surplus animals that "there is no wild to return them to. Zoos should stop
    billing themselves as conservationists. They're not. They are producing animals nobody
    besides hunting ranches wants.”
    Work at the state and local level to pass ordinances to ban hunting ranchers In 1992,
    PAWS successfully sponsored a bill in the state of California that prohibits the hunting of
    non-native species in confined environments. For a copy of the bill, write to PAWS.
    The illegal international trade in wildlife is a
    multibillion dollar industry. According to Interpol,
    the illegal trade in wildlife alone amounts to $5
    billion annually. Other sources believe the total to
    be much higher, with estimates ranging from $10 to
    $20 billion each year. The U.S. Customs Agency
    has stated that wildlife trading is as shadowy and as
    profitable as drug trafficking and that "the two are
    increasingly linked. "
    According to the Endangered Species Project, a
    group that conducted research in 20 countries to
    "Identify some of the main people, companies, and
    methods involved in this sophisticated and lucrative
    underground businless," there is an increasing linkage between the trade in
    cocaine/heroin and wildlife. Furthermore, there is increasing desperation among wildlife
    enforcement officers who "lack the means to uncover and stop a new and powerful form
    of organized crime." More than 1/3 of all cocaine seized in the U.S. during 1993 involved
    some sort of wildlife importation. There are many ways in which animals are used.
    Sometimes smugglers trade illegal drugs for endangered species. This is a popular
    method because it results in a cashless transfer. Also on the increase is the concealment
    of illegal drugs within wildlife shipments. Snakes are so frequently used that in 1993 the
    Fish and Wildlife Service launched a covert campaign called Operation Cocaine
    Constrictor, which focused on a cocaine and snake smuggling operation working through
    Miami. They also conducted Operation Fishnet, in which FWS agents uncovered a
    tropical fish and liquid cocaine smuggling operation between Columbia and the United
    The problem of drugs and endangered
    animals is exacerbated by the fact that many
    drug producing countries also have an
    abundance of exotic wildlife. According to
    the Endangered Species Project: "Because
    Columbia and its neighbors have such an
    abundance of exotic animals and
    endangered species, as well as the world's
    highest concentration of drug traffickers,
    drug smugglers are funneling wildlife
    through their international distribution
    networks and are even using wildlife to
    smuggle narcotics ... The infamous
    Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar was a
    prime example. At his El Napoles ranch in
    Colombia, Escobar had a private zoo with
    giraffes, elephants, rhino ceroses, and about
    2,000 other exotic animals, many imported
    illegally from Africa. Escobar was, in fact,
    prosecuted for the illegal importation of 82
    animals held at his ranch. The other members of the Medellin Cartel eventually
    abandoned the zoo, leaving the animals to starve to death. Not all animals used in
    smuggling are imported from other countries. Especially in South America, the
    rainforests are being devastated by the illegal wildlife trade. According to U.S. Customs
    agent Ernie Winberg, "The drug traffickers buy the animals, including macaws, toucans,
    double-yellow Amazon parrots, monkeys, and reptiles from the Indians for next to
    nothing and then pack them in cardboard boxes with no thought about feeding them. "
    Most drug camps in South America are full of birds, snakes, monkeys and other animals
    that are used to facilitate drug shipments.
    The Lions of Guadalajara
    We arrived here to investigate the condition of one lion at a roadside zoo near Puerto
    Vallarta. But in the course of talking to Fish and Wildlife officials, we've learned that
    there are between 50-75 other lions in the city of Guadalajara alone. And it's not just
    lions. There are exotic animals of all species, most of whom are here as a result of the
    illegal drug trade. FWS officials showed us bag after bag of dead animals, dead birds, and
    skins. And they also showed us dozens of confiscated injured animals. They told us that
    there is even an elephant here that is kept in abysmal conditions in a private house.
    " Why don’t you do something " we asked. They replied that the elephant’s owner is a
    narco-trafficker and that no one can go near him.
    By far the worst thing we saw was a breeding pair of lions. These animals had lived for
    the past six years in a 10 x 12 foot cage. There was no way of cleaning them. They were
    sitting in years' accumulation of their own feces, mixed with the body parts of feed
    animals--femur bones of cattle and bones of chickens. They hadn't been out of the cage in
    six years. The female was pregnant. According to reports, the male lion repeatedly ate the
    babies when the female's litters were born. We were told that the man who owned these
    animals had ''narco connections" and that there was "nothing anybody could do" for the
    NOTE: PAWS’ staff returned the following year and built a large enclosure for the male
    lion. The female had died earlier. This is not the solution, however. The enclosure has
    provided some relief for a single lion, but there are hundreds of lions and other exotic
    species languishing in horrible conditions throughout Mexico and South America.
    What You Can Do:
    Drug trafficking is increasingly linked to the exotic pet trade. Contact the Department of
    Treasury, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), your local police department or humane
    society to find out what animals have been confiscated by these authorities during drug
    raids arrests. You will find the numbers staggering. Expose this connection to media in
    your area.
    When you travel to Mexico and South America, inform the Bureau of Tourism
    immediately if you see exotic animals as attractions at resorts or as entertainment for
    tourists. Let them know you deplore this form of exploitation and voice your concern for
    the animal’s welfare. There is a growing animal welfare movement in Latin countries
    which needs to be encouraged by tourists.
    Since its inception, the movie and television industry has been inextricably tied to the
    animal trade and traffic in "pet" animals. As with all businesses, the name of the game is
    to keep profits up and overhead down. That means that animal trainers don't even
    consider keeping every animal they use. In fact, they may get an animal for a single
    movie and never use it again. Furthermore, hundreds-perhaps thousands-of animals are
    bred for specific movies every year. Like the many mountain lion cubs bred specifically
    for Disney's film "Benji the Hunted," they are used once and then dumped.
    The Hollywood animal "industry" had its beginning at places like Jungleland in
    Thousand Oaks, California. The facility, and others like it, were set up to facilitate the
    needs of Hollywood animal trainers and to capitalize on the increasing use
    of animals in movies. At places like Jungle Land and Nature's Haven (later Africa USA),
    animals could be put on exhibition and the public could be charged admission to see
    them. Animal trainers could also do shows, thereby defraying some of the cost
    of keeping animals to rent to the film industry. Because no animal trainer could succeed
    unless he had some lucrative way of disposing of his surplus, an important sideline for
    movie animal compounds was breeding, dealing, and trading animals. Dealers with trucks
    would come through the facility, take animals that could be traded, and deal them across
    the country at other animal facilities. Animals that couldn't be surplused faced an even
    worse fate. Taxidermists would periodically follow dealers and clear out all the surplus
    that couldn't be disposed of in other ways. Taxidermists shot animals, often in their
    cages. They would then pay for the carcass, and tote the animal away .
    Today, several major companies extract a lucrative income from the use of animals in
    movies and television. What happens to the animals when the movie is over or when
    they "outgrow" their part?
    For months leading up to the publication of this study, ads like these ran in industry
    magazines such as Circus Report. A call by PAWS investigators revealed that animal
    agencies were seeking baby animals and white-faced capuchin monkeys for the filming
    of a Fox television series "Jungle Book." It is impossible to estimate how many animals
    were bred specifically for this series and then dumped.
  2. jwer

    jwer Well-Known Member

    22 Jan 2007
    Groningen, Netherlands
    Am I to believe you typed all that? Is there a purpose you posted it?

    I made it through about one third of that btw, can anyone beat that?
  3. Ned

    Ned Well-Known Member

    20 May 2009
    South Gloucestershire, UK
    I had a quick skim through. Going by the dates quoted it seems this article is about 20 years out of date. I don’t really see the point of dredging up some old article from the past unless it has some relevance to today.
  4. Zooplantman

    Zooplantman Well-Known Member

    23 Jan 2008
    New York, USA
    Maybe PAWS has nothing new to say? :D
  5. RowanGreen

    RowanGreen Well-Known Member

    19 Sep 2010
    London, England
    I read it all, and think it makes some points worth thinking about. I'd certainly like to think things are not as bad 'these days', but if people take an old news, not bothered attitude then it wouldn't take much to go back. Some of the stories go up to quite recent dates, so it's not that long ago. And the exotic black market is definitely still a big problem for one thing.
  6. zooman

    zooman Well-Known Member

    4 Jul 2008
    I cut and paste much faster than l type.

    I posted this as l think it is a very interesting article and l thought others may think it worth a read as well.
  7. RowanGreen

    RowanGreen Well-Known Member

    19 Sep 2010
    London, England
    I think it's worth reading. When people get heated about things I tend to try and take both sides with a pinch of salt because I know passion often leads to exageration and unbalanced writing. But I do think that people should be thinking about where animals in zoos come from and go, not just wandering round collecting more ticks on their lists of species.
  8. zooman

    zooman Well-Known Member

    4 Jul 2008
    I believe the relevance to today is to appreciate where zoo's ect have come from, and to acknowledge how vigilant authorities must remain.

    Would you want to ignore the history of the zoo industry just because it is not a feel good story?
  9. zooman

    zooman Well-Known Member

    4 Jul 2008
    Hi zooplantman your comment surprises me. I have read many of your posts and thought you more openminded.

    I am sure that PAWS has also done allot of good for the zoo industry.
  10. zooman

    zooman Well-Known Member

    4 Jul 2008
    :) My point exactly seems to have been missed by others. Maybe because it is written by PAWS some may have a opinion that it is not to be trusted, and therefore this sort of thing did not happen!
  11. Yassa

    Yassa Well-Known Member

    11 May 2007
    The trade of U.S. zoo baby elephants to circusses is hopefully a thing of the past, but the trade of zoo-born animals to circusses, roadside zoos and other questionable institutions is not.

    In Germany, you just need to look out for giraffes in circusses. Not a single circus is breeding giraffes, and they die like flies. Yet more and more small circusses have a giraffe or two, and they replace them as soon as they die. Where are these giraffes from????

    German-born hippos, lions and monkeys have also been traded to questionable collections in south east asia or eastern Europe (not Poland or the chech republic, whose zoos have a rather high standard nowadays, but Belo-Russia, the Ukraine, ect.) rather recently.
  12. Steve Robinson

    Steve Robinson Well-Known Member

    27 Jun 2007
    Pilton Queensland Austr
    Maybe Pat's funds have been drying up?
  13. RowanGreen

    RowanGreen Well-Known Member

    19 Sep 2010
    London, England
    I always wonder about wallabies myself. They breed pretty fast, a lot of places seem to have breeding groups, so where do the excess go?
  14. jwer

    jwer Well-Known Member

    22 Jan 2007
    Groningen, Netherlands
    See I've wondered as well, but then what am I supposed to do? Do I have to check each Zoo before i go there, wonder if they sold any bennet-wallaby's lately and then decide not to go? Do I need to become a member of the SPCA, greenpeace, Sea Shepherd?

    It seems to me, that things like this are a matter for the governmental institutions that need to prosecute these people for cruelty to animals. I don't see a reason to read this, other then to be amazed by the lack of control the people that need to check this industry has.

    I always read this and think, k... now what?
  15. RowanGreen

    RowanGreen Well-Known Member

    19 Sep 2010
    London, England
    You don't have to guilt trip yourself every hour of the day. But if everyone left it to government, nothing would get done. Mostly governments try to do what 'the people want', so if the people aren't bothered then the government are going to do what gets them more votes next election. They are just as lazy as you are! Not saying you are a lazy person, just not any different really to the folks you seem to think you can leave everything to.
  16. jwer

    jwer Well-Known Member

    22 Jan 2007
    Groningen, Netherlands
    ? It's not my JOB to prosecute these abusive people, the people i'm leaving this to DO have that job. The fact that they're not doing it good enough (according to PAWS, btw) means that they should get a kick from their boss (ultimately, the government).

    The only thing i could do is vote for someone that would do something about it, but the people i'm sure would do anything about it are far too left-winged to my liking, and in my opinion there are more important things to vote about then wether or not an elephant was or was not sold to a bad handler...
  17. Hix

    Hix Wildlife Enthusiast and Lover of Islands Premium Member

    20 Oct 2008
    I find it interesting that nobody is prepared to put their name to the article, and it's not dated.

    On a more important point: I'm assuming Zooman obtained permission from PAWS to reprint their material on this site? The "Terms and Conditions' state:

  18. RowanGreen

    RowanGreen Well-Known Member

    19 Sep 2010
    London, England
    Jwer, it's perfectly legal to sell an animal to a circus or game farm (which seem to be the main things complained about in the article). It is not currently anyones job to stop it on your behalf. If you are not happy about that, then YOU need to do something about it.
  19. jwer

    jwer Well-Known Member

    22 Jan 2007
    Groningen, Netherlands
    First of all, i'm not concerned about zoos or people selling wild animals. Sure, there needs to be regulations and the supervision could be better, but still it should be possible. And i've seen a documentary about a game (=hunting) farm in South Africa which changed my opinion about them pretty drastically in their favour.

    For me the problem arises when people mistreat animals, for which people ARE appointed in our society. The people at PAWS seem to think they are not doing their job, and from the text i read that they might be right.

    But if changes to the law need to be made on this field, then i don't really see what "i" can do about it. See i get to vote every 4 years (under normal circumstances) and first of all, there's no one party that shares all my views on animal laws in their party program, and second of all there are so many problems i find more important.

    So I read this, and don't know what to do about it...
  20. cervicapra

    cervicapra Member

    22 Jul 2012
    Fayetteville, AR USA
    What can you do after reading such a long piece? Cry? Donate to PAWS? Never go to another zoo, or even admire a bison standing alongside a road, without at least feeling guilty about its condition?
    Are more regulations the answer? Maybe but only to a certain extent. Just remember how much trouble and expense of Prohibition cost the United States, to preserve families by eliminating drunken breadwinners.
    For example, what are we suppose to do about the use of captive dolphins and whales at resorts and parks around the globe? The most extreme fix, I can come up with is to declare all whale species as senient beings, who cannot be hunted, traded or held, and give them equal rights to human beings.
    That would not work, even after all the debate, hair pulling, screaming, etc., etc. True we need laws, education, but we also need to pause to think about animal abuse. And be glad for those annoying gadflies who keep nagging us about it.
    Who knows, maybe in ten to ten thousand years, all of us will be so repulsed that we would not, could not even consider harming animals. This would be a major social change, and that takes time.
    I just hope more than just cockroahes exist to enjoy that day.
    Meanwhile, all I can come up with about dealing with the problem of animal abuse is to live, think, debate and learn. Only deep changes in our collective psychology would forever end abuse of all types.