Wildlife experts: wild, exotic animals not good pets

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FREDONIA -- Many people love animals, but when it comes to taking in exotic pets or attempting to nurse injured wild animals back to health, wildlife experts say you could be doing more harm than good!

Pine View Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Center takes in many abused and poorly cared for animals that people think they can have as pets, but experts at the center say they're called wild animals for a reason! "The longer I'm in the business, the more lack of respect I'm seeing for the Earth and its wildlife. Number one: there is no such thing as a pet wild animal. Number two: in many cases it's a violation of the law. Number three: you don't have a right to do it," Jeannie Lord with the Pine View Wildlife Rehabilitation and education Center said.

Many of these wild animals have very specific climate and dietary needs that are too difficult for people to maintain. For example, Lilly the turtle was not properly taken care of, and now she is suffering the consequences and being rehabilitated at the center. "When it was brought to us, it was in awful condition. The plaster on the bottom part of the shell was filled with cancer, pocket holes of what we call shell rot," Lord said.

Many iguanas are also struggling, after being adopted as pets by people who feel they can properly care for them. "One million iguanas are imported into this country every year, and within the first year especially, 800,000 will die, or are in the process of dying with a lack of knowledge from pet shops and individuals," Lord said.

Within the next few months, you may notice more baby birds hatching, and Pine View officials say it's best to leave them alone. "They don't necessarily need intervention. A parent in nature will usually never abandon their young. They make better parents than we do sometimes. That parent or parents will be watching," Lord said.

Experts say although it's not a bad thing to want to help, in the case of wild animals, it's something that's best left to the professionals.

If you see a wild animal that looks injured and in harm's way, you can call the Pine View Wildlife Center at 262-692-9021, or visit their website.