Captured by the thousands from exotic locations, few wild birds survive the long journey to distant pet markets. Primates, rare reptiles, and other species are traded as “pets” to people who don’t understand these animals’ specialized needs. Bears are slaughtered for their gallbladders and paws. Elephants are murdered for their ivory, and young elephants are forcibly torn from their families to be shipped to far-off zoos. Fox, ermine, mink, and other furbearers are ensnared in barbaric traps to provide fur for fashion.
Letter to the Editor
Law enforcement officers and prosecutors deserve praise for sentencing Kwan Su Yi for bear poaching ("Anchorage man sentenced in bear poaching case," March 2, 2005). Illegal killing of bears for the underground trade in their parts is a nationwide problem, which demands a strong national outcry.
The circus is coming to town! This familiar phrase conjures vivid images of amazing acrobats, capering clowns ... and exotic animals. Unlike the human performers who choose to work in circuses, however, exotic animals are forced to take part in the show. They are involuntary actors in a degrading spectacle, forced into an unnatural life.
NOVEMBER: She is hungry. She is alone. Snow is falling. But the bear’s sole focus is the hole she digs under the trunk of an ancient yellow birch that had toppled over, two years earlier, during a windstorm. This would be a good place to spend the winter — and, perhaps, to give birth to the cubs that are slowly growing inside her.
On a cool spring morning, a mother black bear and her two young cubs wander through a thick stand of Douglas fir. Having recently emerged from their winter den, they are hungry and eagerly search for cambium, the sugary, energy-rich sap found beneath tree bark.
Thousands of captive wild animals — elephants, lions, tigers, ocelots, servals, wolves, bears, alligators, venomous snakes, monkeys and other nonhuman primates, and more — are privately held, displayed at roadside zoos and menageries, and used in traveling circuses all across the country.
The sale, possession, and use of captive wild animals is regulated by a patchwork of federal, state, and local laws that generally vary by community and by animal. What results is very little protection under the law. These animals need our help! We must pursue legislation on all levels to ensure stronger protections.
Imagine you’ve been chained to a tree in a backyard for months, without food or water or any hope of rescue. Imagine you’re at half your ideal body weight, the victim of devastating malnutrition, anemia, calcium deficiency, and stress fractures. Imagine you’ve been beaten with a stick so viciously that you bleed. All for the amusement and profit of others.