African servals, exotic cats as pets

Why Exotic Pets Should NOT Be Banned
Conservation Issues
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Many people who began as pet owners now operate sanctuaries and run conservation projects.

Zoos do not have the space or the funding to maintain viable captive populations of all small cat species.

Felines kept in a pet environment get to experience the comfort of a good snuggle, love and affection, and the type of personal care that even the most renowned zoo could never provide.

Many cats breed more successfully in low-stress private facilities than on display in public zoos.

One person donated over a million dollars to the Cheetah Conservation Fund after meeting Sam, a Leopards, Etc. ambassador cheetah.

Unfortunately, we live in a world where numbers of many wild animal species are dwindling, including those of the small wild cat species. Servals in Africa are regularly hunted for their coats and eaten, while at the same time their habitat diminishes. Society's answer to this problem is to try to preserve viable populations of at-risk and endangered animals in zoos.

The goal of the zoo community is to preserve these animals through responsible breeding, maintaining captive populations, and educating the public with the eventual goal of being able to reintroduce certain animals into the wild. Through increasing the public's interest and concern for the animals, these organizations hope to motivate people to slow hunting, habitat destruction, and other forces that threaten them. The sad reality is that in some cases, the only remaining members of some animal species reside in zoos. Servals (along with other small wild felines kept as pets) are a species that while not currently listed as endangered, are listed on CITES Appendix 2 as threatened and may well end up on the endangered list some day.

Flash back to private ownership. These are delightful animals that adapt well to pet life, and win the hearts and minds of almost anyone privileged enough to know them. Therefore, this species has acquired a group of people who are passionately interested in their welfare.

Through these people sharing their knowledge and fascination, you have a small army of people sharing the desire to do whatever they can to help and preserve this species. When you hear of people hunting servals for their coats, it's a shame, just like ivory poaching and rainforest logging. But when you live with a serval or have even gotten to meet one, it's personal! Most people I've met didn't even know what a serval was before they met Sirocco; now they will never forget.

One person donated over a million dollars to the Cheetah Conservation Fund after meeting Sam, a Leopards, Etc. ambassador cheetah.

Because they have won our hearts as pets, servals now have a strong captive population that will continue to exist should this animal ever be wiped out in the wild. I am guessing that this population is far larger and more diverse then what you would ever find in a zoo. The Feline Conservation Federation provides an excellent look at this issue in the article Why Keep Exotic Cats in Captivity?

Now consider the life of a zoo animal. Their physical needs are attended to, but rarely their emotional ones. Felines kept in a pet environment get to experience the comfort of a good snuggle, love and affection, and the type of personal care that even the most renowned zoo could never provide. And yes, they do appreciate it. Servals are incredibly affectionate when raised properly in a pet environment, and bond very strongly to humans.

For a very complete and well-researched overview of the benefits of private ownership to both cats and humans, please read this information from the Feline Conservation Federation.

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Home | First Stop for Future Owners | Why Exotic Pets Should NOT be Banned | Species Profiles | Behavior and Training | Care | Veterinary Care | Vet Directory | Housing & Enrichment | Adoptions | Resources | Discussion Forum | Photos | Other Topics....
© Jessi Clark-White, 2004
Exotic Pet Ownership and Conservation