Animal Underworld: Inside America's Black Market for Rare and Exotic Species
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This shocking and groundbreaking report on the trafficking and inhumane treatment of rare and exotic animals exposes a whole network of people and institutions more interested in profit than in animal welfarefrom zoos and wildlife parks to exotic meat dealers and Amish farmers..
ambled in from the yard one afternoon and sat in an overhead tunnel—his broad mouth fixed in what looked like a grin— and placidly watched me clean his quarters. We were at times separated by just a few feet, and after that we had a pretty good understanding: I would treat him with courtesy and respect (no eye contact, stand back from the cage when he led his group in from the outdoors), and he’d forgo the intimidation. Mandara, on the other hand, did more than just tolerate me: She sought me
which they might not otherwise get to see in person. Although Gamble often appears on behalf of the Center for Endangered Cats, its founder and driving force is executive director Craig Wagner. Like many whose careers involve exotic animals, Wagner’s interest began with pet ownership: He drove by a “cougars for sale” sign, impulsively bought a pair of cubs, and brought them home to his stunned wife. Before long Wagner was breeding big cats. Wagner’s activities caused some displeasure in his
Animals in the wild may be threatened by hunters, poachers, disease, and starvation, but those in captivity have presumably been granted safe haven. Animals in the wild are often elusive, their presence revealed only by tracks in the earth or shadows on a distant ridge, whereas the lives of zoo animals unfold daily in plain view, sometimes from birth. As a result, we develop relationships with zoo animals and care about their individual lives. With Lolli and Macon, however, the details remained
Riggs’s exhibitor’s license for one month for a variety of Animal Welfare Act violations, including her mistreatment of tigers.) The center’s staff “rescues” tigers from exotic-animal auctions and elsewhere and breeds them like rabbits: Just before the Dallas meeting, Bridgeport Nature Center was advertising for sale eight white Bengal tigers born between November 1996 and October 1997, and ten heterozygous Bengal tigers (“all animals are hand raised and very tame”). Its buyer list includes I.B.
Pipe Creek, Texas. Shortly thereafter, the Houston Chronicle reported that the owners of the ranch, Robert and Betty Kelso (the latter a member of the San Antonio Zoo’s board of directors), opened their one-hundred-sixty-five-acre spread to paying hunters and sold some of their surplus to other breeders and ranchers. Michael Robinson, the director of the National Zoo, proclaimed that the Kelsos had misled his institution, and he hurried to Texas to demand the animals’ return. Robert Hoage, the