Should Australian Natives Be Kept As Pets ? [ Tim Faulkner Blog ]

Should Australian Natives Be Kept As Pets ? [ Tim Faulkner Blog ]

A question I am often asked is “should Australian wildlife be kept as pets?” and in many cases, this would make a lot of sense because we are allowed to keep a domestic cat as a pet, which in many cases are allowed to roam and destroy native wildlife or become feral if an owner releases them to the wild, if not wanted anymore. This causes catastrophic repercussions for Australia, which already has the highest mammal extinction rate on earth.

 

Native birds and reptiles are already kept as pets and are noted to be good pets with some examples of bearded dragons, Australian python species, parrots etc being not only popular pets in not only Australia, but worldwide.

 

One of the areas for prospective interest is mammals; sugar gliders, quolls, possums, kangaroos and wallabies for example. All these species would make reasonable pets in the capacity of friendliness, need of space and ease of care. However, there is concern that this would increase wildlife poaching for the pet trade and could see endangered species sought after in this regard.

 

If this was permitted Australians could re-establish a lost connection with some of our smaller, more obscure wildlife, which there seems to be a disconnect with our society in general.

 

Take the orangutan for example, they are one of the most recognisable animals in the world and support for the species is through the roof, however there are still approximately 50,000 left in the wild and their numbers are increasing.

 

There are many Australian species that fall well-short of this figure but are not know in the public eye of Australians.  If a species like a sugar glider is able to be kept as a pet, it raises public knowledge and education advocacy of the species – this is something that could be applied across a wide range of small Australian mammals.

 

Most of the Australian native mammal population that have the ability to be kept as pets hold little to no threat if they escape, unlike domestic cats who would hunt by nature.

 

For example, the Eastern quoll has become extinct on the mainland of Australia and is now only found in Tasmania. If one were to be kept as a pet and escaped the owners’ house, it would be tragic in the same circumstance in the way that it may come to harm or get run over.  

 

However, in regards to the devastating effect on the local environment – that is non-existent. If feral populations of Eastern quolls established themselves around Sydney, what would be the harm in that? They used to be common in the area, so it would be essentially re-wilding the population.
My position on this is that there are both pros and cons to the argument. However, I have a hard time foreseeing that species such as sugar gliders, quolls, possums, kangaroos and wallabies wouldn’t make reasonable companion species. They have the ability to provide a greater education advocacy benefit for Australian wildlife in general and have little devastating repercussions that may come with a potential escape from other domestic pets such as cats and dogs.  

 

BLOG AUTHOR CREDIT:

Tim Faulkner, General Manager, Australian Reptile Park 2015 Australian Geographic Conservationist of the Year.

Tim Faulkner, General Manager, Australian Reptile Park 2015 Australian Geographic Conservationist of the Year.

 

By Tim Faulkner, General Manager, Australian Reptile Park 2015 Australian Geographic Conservationist of the Year.

Comments

  1. This was very informative, and I definitely learnt some new things. Extinction is a terrible occurrence and we should do our part but not keeping these animals as pets, they need to be in their natural environment, its not safe for them in domestic areas as you said if they get out they could be run over or something. Thank you for this great read!:)

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