Quoted from www.pawsweb.org SURPLUS ANIMALS: THE CYCLE OF HELL A Study of Captive Wildlife in the United States BACKGROUND AND HISTORY 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 animals. 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. WHAT IS A SURPLUS ANIMAL? 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. ZOOS AND CAPTIVE BREEDING PROGRAMS 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 refrigeration." 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 deaths. 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 Texas. 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 ring. 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 SHOWS 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) FROM ZOO TO CIRCUS: THE STORY OF LOTA 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 counterclockwise circles and stand on tubs. 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. WHAT YOU CAN DO 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. DRIVE-THROUGH WILDLIFE PARKS 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. THE STORY OF SAMANTHA 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 "pets.” 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. EXOTIC ANIMAL AUCTIONS 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. THE EXOTIC PET TRADE 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. SMUGGLING AND THE BLACK MARKET 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. WHEN PETS ARE DUMPED: THE STORY OF BOO-BOO 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. WHAT YOU CAN DO: 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. CANNED HUNTS AND HUNTING RANCHES 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.” WHAT YOU CAN DO 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. EXOTIC ANIMALS AND THE DRUG TRADE 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 States. 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. INVESTIGATOR’S NOTEBOOK AUGUST 15, 1996 GUADALAJARA, MEXICO 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 animals. 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. MOVIES AND TELEVISION 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.