As Green Monsters, when we hear a story about someone purchasing wild animals and putting them in captivity in their backyards, our first reflex is to facepalm. After all that we understand about how captivity negatively impacts both the mental and physical well-being of wild animals, we just can’t seem to comprehend why someone would think that it is a good idea. As this segment from “Last Week Tonight” shows, John Oliver is right there with us.

Following the story of Viktor Yanukovych, the ex-President of the Ukraine, and his personal ostrich zoos, Oliver dives into the absurdities of the defamed President’s logic behind keeping these birds captive. While the case of Yanukovych may seem like an extreme case of  being “out of touch with reality,” he is hardly alone in his belief that he is doing a kind service to the wild animals in his care.

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Right here in the U.S., there are more tigers living in backyards as pets or exhibition pieces than there are currently roaming in the wild! Like Yanukovych, people believe that they are “helping” these tigers … despite the fact that they barely have a basic understanding of the animal’s physical needs or natural behaviors… But hey, at least these poor cats are wasting away their days in their native habitats with their families, right?

When we view these animals as commodities that can be put on display for the sake of our entertainment, we do them an enormous disservice and Yanukovych’s ostriches are just one – incredibly ridiculous – example of the countless exotic pets being kept by careless humans.

It is up to us to keep wild animals in the wild. A big thank you to John Oliver for calling Yanukovych out on his nonsense.

 

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