Final month, a monkey was surrendered by its owner in Lexington.
The extended-tailed macaque, Ted, was becoming kept as a pet prior to he became as well a great deal for his owners to deal with.
Just after hearing Ted’s story, LEX 18 Investigates sought to discover additional about what wild pets are discovered in Kentucky, and what sorts of complications they can trigger.
Wild pets, each exotic and native, are largely prohibited by Kentucky law. But the sale and ownership of wild pets is not illegal everywhere in the nation.
That does not cease exotic and wild pets from winding up in Kentucky, mentioned Eileen Dallaire, the executive director of the Primate Rescue Center.
“There is a robust network of illegal pet trading,” Dallaire mentioned. “So people today locate a way, and as well, a lot of people today are just unaware of what the laws are. So they locate advertisements and locate monkeys and breeders and bring them into the state, do not do their analysis.”
Kentucky Division of Fish and Wildlife conservation officer James Brace mentioned that illegal exotic pets are reported in central Kentucky about after a year, and that illegal native wild pets are reported far additional frequently.
Of the exotic pets reported in the state, Brace mentioned a single sort is additional frequent than all the rest – primates.
Primates as pets
The Primate Rescue Center is a quiet sanctuary nestled in central Kentucky that offers chimps and monkeys a protected spot to reside out their days. The primates that finish up there are unable to return to the wild for the reason that they’ve been kept as pets or held in laboratories.
“We want we didn’t have to exist as an organization, that there wasn’t a want for organizations like us,” Dallaire mentioned. “However, exactly where there nonetheless are states that have incredibly loose laws when it comes to owning primates privately, then there just has to be areas like us.”
In the wild, young primates would obtain 24/7 interest from their mothers, frequently physically holding onto their mothers all day, Dallaire mentioned. Even a properly-intentioned particular person would not be capable to give a infant monkey or chimp the care it requirements in a human house, she mentioned.
“As comparable as they are to us, we just can not present them all the things that they want to thrive and be the people that they’re meant to be,” Dallaire mentioned.
The lack of socialization with their personal type can lead to complications when the primates develop up, Dallaire mentioned.
“As that infant monkey tiny by tiny does not have these requirements met, they’re experiencing these smaller traumas day soon after day soon after day,” Dallaire mentioned. “And that builds up more than time and they create behaviors and emotional trauma from that and as they develop up, they create their personal personalities. No matter if that is potentially additional aggressive personalities and they start out to perhaps lash out, they bite.”
In some cases primates bite not out of aggression, but for the reason that it is a single of the techniques they communicate in the wild, Dallaire mentioned. But in a human house, these interactions can be a challenge.
“These challenges not only pose a threat for the people today inside the house, but for the surrounding communities,” Dallaire mentioned. “These primates can escape houses and potentially harm other animals or youngsters in the surrounding neighborhood.”
The Primate Rescue Center is donation-funded and at present cares for additional than 40 primates.
The Primate Rescue Center has cared for Ted, the extended-tailed macaque surrendered in Lexington, given that he was surrendered. On Monday, he began his move to his new house at a sanctuary in Texas.
Native wildlife as pets
Most wildlife native to Kentucky are also prohibited as pets. It is a rule that gets broken a lot in the spring – infant season.
“Some people today can not resist taking that fawn up, you know, when it is got these white dots on it, they want to bring it in,” Brace mentioned. “They consider the momma’s gone, or anything may well have occurred to the mom.”
Cameron Varner | LEX 18
A white tailed deer at the Salato Wildlife Center in Frankfort, Ky.
It is attainable to be educated as a wildlife rehabber in Kentucky, but devoid of the coaching it is challenging for people today to meet the animals’ requirements and prepare them for life in the wild.
Kentucky state wildlife veterinarian Dr. Christine Casey mentioned that becoming raised in captivity causes complications for animals that are later released, and for these that are kept as pets soon after they develop up.
Getting raised by people today can trigger wild pets to be additional familiar with humans. If that animal approaches humans they see out in the wild, that human will most likely worry the animal.
“You can raise them from a infant but as they get older they want to discover, they want to be in the atmosphere,” Casey mentioned. “What takes place when it breaks out, you know?”
Exotic pets and the atmosphere
In addition to the other complications that can come with obtaining wildlife as pets, bringing exotic pets into the state can jeopardize native wildlife.
“When you take anything from a various location and it can bring parasites into a new location, you are potentially releasing that into the atmosphere,” Casey mentioned. “And producing a entire new population that is going to be exposed to it and producing an endemic circumstance right here.”
Exotic pets do not only contain animals like primates and major cats – rabbits and smaller sized animals from other states and nations can bring their personal hazards.
In the southwestern United States, a illness referred to as rabbit hemorrhagic illness virus is spreading, Casey mentioned. It is extremely fatal to rabbits, and efforts are becoming produced to cease it from receiving into Kentucky.
Laws limiting the transportation and ownership of wild animals in the state are in spot to shield the wildlife in the state, Brace mentioned.
“Just attempting to maintain Kentucky, Kentucky, generally, and creating positive we do not have invasive species and items like that come by means of,” Brace mentioned. “Making positive we maintain what we have, creating positive that we’re conserving what we do have now and for future generations.”
Dallaire mentioned that there are greater techniques to appreciate wildlife than attempting to personal wild animals as pets.
“Try to push your adore for them by supporting conservation efforts and supporting their life as it is meant to be and not attempting to match them into the life that you consider they must have,” Dallaire mentioned.
Cameron Varner | LEX 18
A black bear at the Salato Wildlife Center in Frankfort, Ky.