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A guide to importing rare animals

There are strict laws and regulations surrounding the import and export of rare or exotic animals. So, it is extremely important to carefully consider and research the animal that you wish to keep. This article will cover some of the basic considerations that must be taken before even thinking of importing any type of rare pet.

Basic needs

Rare animals
Animals that are considered rare are usually labelled this way because they are endangered or threatened. This means that there are few left to maintain a natural population in the wild. They are often prized as pets purely, because they are expensive and are a display of wealth for the owner. Animal needs
Exotic animals, like any other pet, have specific requirements. However, these are rarely satisfied when they are imported to foreign countries. PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) estimate that 90% of animals that are smuggled or imported die for a variety of reasons, including loneliness, being mistreated, stress and malnutrition. It becomes increasingly expensive to care for and maintain exotic pets, especially mammals, which often outgrow their owners. When owners can no longer look after these animals, they are either introduced to zoos, rehabilitation is attempted, or released into the wild of their new, foreign country, which can cause problems with the endemic food chains and conflict with humans.

Importing exotic animals

How to go about importing
If you do want to import a rare animal, first ask yourself these questions: - Can I afford to keep this animal long-term? - Can I provide a suitable habitat for this animal at present? - Will this animal get too big/dangerous for me to look after? If you can suitably answer these and still want to go ahead, then the best advice is to look for a legitimate import expert. What to look for
You should ask your local pet store first if they are able to import the animal that you want. Should this not be the case, find out if they have the details of someone who can import. Refrain from buying animals online or on auction sites, as no doubt these will be illegal. Make sure that your importer has a license and ensure that he/she follows the correct country regulations for the transport and collection of your pet. Moreover, ensure that your seller is transporting the animals in an ethical manner, with all the proper paperwork. You are responsible for holding the correct documentation for the animals when it is in your ownership, and sever penalties can be distributed for not following these.

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