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UTILIZATION OF WILD ANIMALS AS PETS

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                 <p><strong>OBJECTIVES</strong></p>
<p>The objectives of this topic are as follows:</p>
<ul><li>to provide detailed information on wildlife pet utilization to
man </li>
<li>to categorically state the challenges of  keeping wild animals as
pet </li>
<li>to expose the different era wild animals have been used as pets to
man</li>
<li>to itemize the different purpose of keeping wild animals pets</li>
</ul><p><strong><u>WHAT ARE PETS</u></strong></p>
<p>Pets are animal kept for companionship, interest, or amusement i.e.
animals kept for the main purpose of companionship, pleasure and given
adequate comfort as opposed to animals for zoo keeping, working animals,
biological research. The animals kept as pet ranges from domestic to wild
animals. Although a lot of controversies have being raised on why wild
animals should be kept as pets owing to the risks involved but this has
not deterred wildlife Pet keepers as their numbers are increasing from
time to time. According to library index  {pet history} keeping an
animal for pleasure rather than for food or work was possible only for
people who were well off and had the resources to feed extra mouths</p>
<p><strong>HISTORY OF PET KEEPING</strong></p>
<p>Pet keeping was a widespread and well accepted phenomenon in classical
antiquity raising disapproval only when pets supplanted or where thought
to supplant children in human affections {Bodson. L, 2005}.</p>
<p>Although historians are not sure when exactly humans first started
keeping animals as pets but there exist evidence in literatures, arts,
and tombs that indicates that far back before the civilization in Egypt
the pharaohs and queen kept animals such lions, grey parrot, rabbit,
monkeys, wild cats as pet, according to historian Kasey Grier of the
University of South Carolina, tropical birds, such as parrots, were
highly valued in American society before recorded music became available.
The ancient Greek and Romans of all ages also enjoyed animal companions
of different species from insect to mammals. {Bodson. L, 2005}</p>
<p>According to the information stated in library index websites the
origins of ornamental goldfish date back to the seventh century in China,
where Buddhist monks first raised them in ponds and by the fourteenth
century the Chinese were keeping goldfish indoors in bowls as pets.</p>
<p><strong>MODERN AGE OF PET KEEPING </strong></p>
<p>The modern age of pet keeping began in the mid-1800s, when a thriving
middle class emerged in society. This was the first time that many people
had the time and money to keep animals solely for companionship and
pleasure. {Library index; pet history}</p>
<p><strong>NIGERIA AS A CASE STUDY</strong></p>
<p>Many people have kept different species of animals in captivity over
the course of human history in Nigeria, only a relative few have being
kept long enough to be considered domesticated. Other types of animals
notably monkeys, parrots, deer, duiker, ostrich have never being
completely domesticated but are still commonly sold and kept as pets.</p>
<p>Moreover, monkeys one of the common wild animal pet in this part of
the country are kept for the purpose of comfort (stress relief), exercise
and social interaction. Similarly they are regarded and used as errand
mate instead of man in some area Bayelsa state (Akenfa town), Rivers
state, Delta state {personal communication and observation}.</p>
<p>Furthermore, parrot and monkeys are used as security in some parts of
Nigeria because of their keen ability to recognise strangers and
intruders.</p>
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<p><strong>PURPOSES FOR KEEPING WILD ANIMALS AS PET</strong></p>
<p>There are many purposes and reason humans keep wildlife as pets and
these purposes and reasons determines the selection of a particular
animals as pet, few are highlighted below:</p>
<ul><li>Hobby</li>
<li>Companionship</li>
<li>Security</li>
<li>Errand mate</li>
<li>Beautiful colour display</li>
<li>Acrobatic display</li>
<li>Games </li>
<li>Inspirations (religious/culture)</li>
<li>Affiliating with the natural environment</li>
<li>Hunting/scaring away other animals etc.</li>
</ul><p><strong>WILD ANIMALS KEPT AS PET</strong></p>
<p>There are numerous animals kept as pet worldwide but few are listed
here.</p>
<ul><li><strong>Bird-</strong> Birds such as falcons, ducks,owl raven,
turtle doves, hoopoes (small, colourful bird), parrot and geese (by
nobles) are common pets kept for their beautiful colours, display
(courtship) and ability to mimic human voice. </li>
<li><strong>Chimpanzee and baboons</strong><strong>-</strong> they are
kept as pet for their abilities to perform acrobatic display, behave like
humans etc.</li>
<li><strong>Cat-</strong> Perhaps first domesticated by Egyptians, the
cat was valued as a controller of pest and vermin (mouse-catcher). They
also had value as companions to their owners, which were mostly women.
Despite their popularity, there is only evidence of one instance where a
pet cat had a name. Its name was "the Pleasant One". </li>
<li><strong>Dog</strong>- The main pet of ancient Egypt, the dog was
beloved by all classes. The dog is thought to be the earliest
domesticated animal, and was used as a hunting partner, an aid to herders
and farmers, and as a watchdog. Unlike any other type of pet, a family
dog was almost always named; in fact many were given human names just as
if they were a human family member. They are the only species to be given
that honour in Egypt. The love affair Egypt had with its dogs is
represented in the many coffins found containing the family pet.</li>
<li><strong>Gazelle-</strong> These were domesticated and kept in the
home. They were loved for their gentle nature.</li>
<li><strong>Deer- </strong>a small herbivore that have being kept in some
house hold of America and many parts of Africa including Nigeria </li>
<li><strong>Duiker-</strong> small antelope reported to have been
successful kept as pet in different house hold worldwide. </li>
<li><strong>Lion</strong>- Archaeologists presume that pet lions had
their deadly claws and fangs removed before being given pet status. They
were royal pets, and regularly roamed palace grounds. The amount of
domestication that occurred is unknown.</li>
<li><strong>Monkey</strong>- Patas monkeys, green or vervet monkeys and
baboons were second only to dogs in popularity as pets. This popularity
is mostly due to their ability to be trained to dance, sing, or play
musical instruments for the entertainment of their human companions. They
were appreciated for their comic appeal, and were customarily kept
collared and leashed. Those who were owned by wealthy families often wore
gold jewellery as fine as that worn by humans.</li>
<li><strong>Python</strong><strong>- </strong>rock python, <em>python
regius</em> are pet in Thailand, America and other parts of the
world</li>
<li><strong>Crocodile – </strong>Although often regarded as not a good
pet because of the size and level of aggressiveness but people still keep
species of small dwarf caiman, dwarf African crocodile as pet. </li>
<li><strong>Giraffe</strong></li>
<li><strong>Iguana- </strong>blue neck iguana and other species of iguana
are kept as pet in America and some parts of Nigeria </li>
<li><strong>Tigers-</strong></li>
</ul><p><strong>CHALLENGES/DISADVANTAGES OF KEEPING PET</strong></p>
<p>The challenges and disadvantages of keeping pet has always limit the
keeping of animal especially wild animals as pet</p>
<ul><li><strong>Belief- </strong>certain people have seen certain animal
keeping as pet to be bad stating they are against cultural, religious
belief e.g. keeping owl as pet in delta state has always been seen as
practicing witchcraft. </li>
<li><strong>Disease carriers (zoo noses) – </strong>some animals used
as pet have the tendency of transmitting certain pathogens causing
diseases to their owner and this have brought about limitations in
keeping such animals and other that their potency of causing diseases has
not been known. E.g. foot and mouth diseases (FMD) a viral diseases that
can be transmitted by antelope, giraffe etc.</li>
<li><strong>Destructive animals-</strong> some of this pet are capable of
destroying crops, plantation seedling, food stuff when they get out of
control e.g. primates such as the monkeys baboon etc.</li>
<li><strong>Dangerous- </strong>some of these pet kept has been reported
to grow outrageous there by turning against their keepers either because
they have being traumatized or because they have grown too old in
captivity e.g. python keepers in America (National geographic channel
documentary) and baboon keepers in Africa (Delta State Nigeria).</li>
<li><strong>Education/Awareness-</strong> there have always being little
or no awareness given on the importance and benefit of keeping certain
wild animals as petand the low information(feeding, housing etc.) given
on the status of the animal that should be kept as pet has also
contributed to the poor utilization of animals as pet. </li>
<li><strong>Income –</strong> many people that would want to keep
certain animals as pet often do not have the finance and resources to
keep and manage them due to low income earnings and those that have and
cannot meet up with their up keep usually engage in donation of the
animals out to the zoo.</li>
<li><strong>Pet price-</strong> the price of purchasing certain pet is
high due to the process involved in acquiring them from the wild. This
has led to people choosing domestic pet over wild animal pet.</li>
<li><strong>Bureaucracy- </strong>the process involved in acquiring
certain wild animal as pet is very long and complicating e.g. pythons,
tiger and lion pet keepers (America, India, Nigeria) often go through
along processes in obtaining licence for the animals.</li>
</ul><p><strong>CONSERVATIONAL IMPLICATIONS OF PET KEEPING</strong></p>
<p>Although the wild animals are removed from their wild to serve as pet
which could be regarded as altering the natural environment but in as
much as it is utilized wisely as pet (pet keeping) it is encourage in
conservation science hence the establishment of agencies such as CITES
etc. that usually monitor trades on not only endanger animals but wild
animals in general.</p>
<p><strong>References</strong></p>
<p>Bodson. L, {2005}Â Â motivation for pet keeping in ancient Greece and
Rome, a preliminary survey.google books,348pp.
books.google.com/books?isbn=0521017718 13/09/2010</p>
<p>Lecture note of Dr Ijeomah wildlife management and utilization 2010
4/08/2010</p>
<p>"http://www.libraryindex.com/pages/2205/Pets-HISTORY.html"&gt;Pets -
History</p>
<p>Personal communication, (2010).</p>                <!--INFOLINKS_OFF--
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