Today is World Wildlife Day, and it’s an important time to discuss the fate of wildlife, both native and exotic, in the state of Texas.
This year, World Wildlife Day is focusing on the seriousness of wildlife crime- the illegal trade of wild animals. Endangered animals all over the world are captured and sold as pets through the exotic animal trade, and entire families of animals are killed just so the babies can be obtained. Still more animals are trapped and killed for their horns, pelts or meat. It is a lucrative and shameful business that needs to end before we lose these beautiful and important species forever.
What does this mean for Texans? Almost half of the states in the US allow some form of ownership of wild animals. Texas specifically allows for the ownership of dangerous wild animals (such as lions, tigers and bears) as long as the owner has a permit and adheres to certain regulations. However, these laws are not always followed, and then these wild animals must be relocated. The Houston SPCA is equipped to temporarily house these animals in our exotic pens until a more suitable environment can be found for them. Unfortunately, once a wild animal has been raised in captivity, they cannot be released. Help stop the import of these wild animals by avoiding roadside zoos and exotic animal shows.
When we talk about wild animals, we aren’t just referring to the exotic ones we see in zoos and circuses. Wild animals also include ducks, squirrels, possums and birds. Native Texas wildlife is protected under state law, and migratory species that pass through Texas are federally protected. That’s why you can’t have a possum or an eagle as a pet. Our subsidiary, The Wildlife Center of Texas, is licensed to rescue, rehabilitate and release injured, sick or displaced wild animals. Visit their website to learn more about how you can peacefully coexist with the wild animals in your backyard.
We only have this one planet and it is vital that we protect the animals with whom we share it. That includes the tiny field mice and the mighty lions, the box turtles and the endangered white rhinos, the house cats and the shelter dogs. Educate yourself and your family on how to be responsible members of this delicate ecosystem we call Earth.