Dec
29
2011

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) is warning the public that although movies like the newly released "We Bought a Zoo" can be fun to watch, buying zoo animals for private ownership is both dangerous and often illegal.

"The human-animal bond is a heartwarming thing to witness both in real life and in movies, but the challenges of owning and caring for wild animals makes private ownership of zoo animals dangerous for people and the animals," Dr. René Carlson, president of the AVMA, said in a news release. "We want to remind everyone that zoo animals are wild and have very specific needs. Owning and caring for wild animals at home is dangerous not only for you and your family but also for the animals."

The release of the film comes on the heels of an incident two months ago when the owner of a wildlife reserve in Ohio opened the cages of all of his wild animals before committing suicide. Authorities then killed 49 of the 56 animals before they caused injuries to the public, according to Fox News.

The AVMA acknowledges the importance of zoos, noting they are important institutions that help in global conservation efforts.

In the movie "We Bought a Zoo", the family buys a zoo and employs a veterinarian and staff to take care of the animals.

The AVMA is emphasizing the importance of having trained veterinary staff care for wild animals.

"Without the help of veterinarians and experienced zoo keepers, animal health technicians or other qualified individuals, care of wild animals should not be attempted," the AVMA said in a news release.

The AVMA is also advising lawmakers to restrict or prohibit private ownership of wild animals that have the potential to pose a significant risk to public health and the ecosystem.

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