In February of this year, California State Senator Bill Nye introduced legislation in the state Legislature that seeks to regulate the use of animal habitats. The goal is to make it more difficult for people to keep exotic pets such as monkeys, elephants, and fish in their homes. These animals usually prey on smaller animals within their native habitat and so it becomes a matter of survival for them to have access to the same numbers of these animals as they have in the wild. The bill would also seek to make it more difficult for people to import animals from other countries where their animals prey on native species. These restrictions would affect businesses that import exotic animals to keep in their homes and businesses that import animals for displays.
Reasons Why The Legislation Would Be Beneficial
There are several reasons why the legislation would be beneficial for everyone. Exotic animals do suffer from many problems, which could be prevented if the animals were not put into a situation where they would prey on other animals. By regulating the numbers that these animals are bred at and by making it more difficult for them to enter the country through illegal means, we can reduce the amount of suffering that these animals endure. As a result we could possibly see an increase in tourism revenue as tourists become more aware of the difficulties that these animals go through.
Another reason why this particular bill makes sense is because zoos need to conserve the natural habitats that exist in their countries of origin. Without this natural habitat at the zoo cannot provide the animal housing that is needed to ensure the animal’s health and well being. There are numerous benefits to preserving the habitats around these zoos. The animals would not get proper nutrition and there would be a decrease in the number of animals being born per year in these sanctuaries.
If the zoo in San Diego County does not conserve the habitat around their animals then they will have to euthanize these animals to prevent the need for unnatural captivity. They also will have to raise the costs of caring for these animals as the profits from these businesses come primarily from the fees that these people pay to maintain these buildings. The bill that Nye is trying to put into effect would provide money for the building of new habitats for these animals. It will also cover the fees that are paid to maintain the current zoo animals’ habitat.
Help The Planet
Some environmentalists feel that this bill will do little to help the planet. It is a shame that the California State Legislature has to pass a bill in order to conserve resources when they should be encouraging people to use alternative forms of energy. Using wood for energy rather than petroleum produced electricity could significantly decrease the amount of greenhouse gasses that are released into the atmosphere. Although California is already starting to take some steps to decrease their dependency on oil, more is needed.
In addition to the need to conserve natural habitats for our species on this planet, we need to preserve the habitats that we currently have for these animals. In the wild these animals hunt insects and smaller animals for their food. The natural prey animals like squirrels, rabbits and other rodents have enough natural prey to sustain themselves while the larger ungulates (deer, raccoon, etc.) eat the larger herbivores for their meat.
If the California State Legislature truly cares about the state of nature then they will not only pass the Animal Habitat Preservation Act but they will also pass a bill that encourages businesses to conservation. The businesses are making money hand over fist from the sale of permits to the natural predators that help maintain the balance in our wildlife populations. If we do not protect the natural habitats of these animals they will drive the populations into extinction. If we leave it as is we could see the loss of 50% or more of our population within the next couple of years. We must act now before it is too late.