When most think of the exotic pet trade in the U.S., it’s usually reptiles, monkeys, or birds that come to mind. However, this cruel and selfish form of profiteering extends to even wildcats. Recently, in a joint effort by the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), World Animal Protection and sanctuary staff seized four servals and two caracals being held at a property in Buffalo, NY. A three-year-old Savannah cat was also removed from the residence.
The wildcats ranged from ages two to six months old, and according to Alesia Soltanpanah, Executive Director at World Animal Protection, all of them were suffering from malnutrition.
After receiving medical care, the cats were transported to two different sanctuaries, Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge in Arkansas and Safe Haven Wildlife Sanctuary in Nevada, where they will be permanent residents.
Servals are native to Africa and can weigh around 40 pounds and are primarily solitary, and crepuscular hunters. These incredible hunters can leap 20 feet vertically to catch birds in the air and have an incredible hunting success rate of up to 50 percent.
Caracals, on the other hand, can be found in Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia, and India. They are the largest member of Africa’s small cats and hunt animals such as rodents, hares, hyraxes, and small antelope. Male caracals can weigh up to 40 pounds and females can weigh up to 35 pounds.
As you can see, the exotic pet trade is alive and well in the U.S. Removing wild animals from their natural habitats and forcing them into a life of captivity is not only cruel but dangerous to the animal itself and humans. These animals possess instincts that enable them to survive in the wild, NOT within closed walls. We need to use our voices and our power to stand up for these innocent animals by spreading awareness of what actually happens behind the doors of the cruel exotic pet trade. Wildlife is already facing many hardships, from poaching, climate change, and habitat loss without selfish people further exploiting them. Thankfully, organizations like World Animal Protection are working to protect the innocent victims of this cruel trade.
Image Source: World Animal Protection