For my Environmental news this week, I can’t help but do one that kind of hits home for me. I found it in the ” Sydney Morning Herald” today. It’s one of those stories that kind of leaves you in disbelief. A 31- year old woman trying to go through security in Bangkok was stopped when her bag weighed in too heavy. Further investigation on the X-ray machine revealed what look to be a live animal inside. Airport Authorities found inside a 3-month male tiger cub inside, who’d be sedated with human antidepressents. The woman faces up to 4 years in prison and $1400 in fines.
Stories like this are in the news all time it seems now and that hits me in two ways, for very different reasons. The first and probably least important of the ways, is that as someone who loves animals and have owned exotic animals I want to know how these people do this! I mean this not in a sense of how do they do this to the animal ( not because I don’t care just because that’s my second reason) but how the Black Market world of operations works when it comes to these animals. I’ve gotten into some interesting discussions in my life with some people just because of my interest in animals. Terry Wilkins who owns “Captive Born Reptiles” in Columbus and is famous to reptile lovers in Ohio, once told me if there was any animal you wanted to take $6000 dollars and travel down to Florida, where all the boats come in. I could buy anything he said. I can’t say I don’t want to go just to see what its like.
Then there is a whole other part of me that isn’t intreged, that just thinks it’s wrong. The reason exotic animal trades like this exist is really only something based on the demand for the product. I’m not surprised people want to own these animals, I can imagine there is a rush that comes with the fear, and power of owning many of these exotic animals. The reality is it’s just not right, but for some this message doesn’t click. I recently met someone else who owned a Sulcata tortoise around 50 years old, she’d found it on the side of Route 40 in Colorado eating some grass. Someone had simply dumped it with a note taped to its back saying “I just got too big for my family”. This happens all the time people thinking these animals will be easy or have short-lived lives. Many live for over 50 years and require considerable attention. Its sad, and it’s a problem that people are just buying these animals with little thought about the life ahead for them.