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All About Captive Wildlife

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Published on: Aug. 2, 2006

Last revision: Nov. 29, 2010

these animals, you must remember that keepers of Class II animals must register them with local law enforcement in the county where they are kept.

Safe and humane keeping

When applying for a permit, your application will be forwarded to the conservation agent in the county where you reside; he or she will inspect your cages and confirm your animals are being obtained from a legal source. The conservation agents will discuss and go over the confinement standards that are required for holding animals under the permit you possess.

Whether you have decided to raise deer, bobwhite quail or pheasants, the confinement standards will apply. Confinement standards provide protection, minimize the risk of escape and ensure humane living conditions for the animals being held. Another issue that will be discussed is the records and receipts that must be kept concerning the animals that you are holding. Each year, permit holders will be inspected by a conservation agent to check records and to see if confinement standards are being followed. It is very important that permit holders and conservation agents have and maintain a good working relationship.

Please remember that there are several different permits that are available to purchase captive wildlife in Missouri. Each permit tends to be for specific animals and purposes. You must have your permit in hand for the animal you wish to purchase at an exotic or alternative sale. This preparation means that you are better prepared to handle the animal when it gets home.

Exotic animals and wildlife should never be impulse purchases. One person contacted at an exotic sale purchased two African lion cubs. African lions are not governed by the Department of Conservation, but when questioned as to the reason for the purchase the gentlemen explained that the lions were cute and fuzzy and he could not wait to see them grow up. After some discussion concerning how big they were going to get and that they could get mean, he had a change of heart and decided against the purchase.

There are many other provisions in these permits that need to be discussed with your agent if you intend to sell or buy animals, whether native or exotic. Every person considering a purchase or possession of captive wildlife should always consult the Wildlife Code of Missouri for the regulations that are in place for confined wildlife. Always feel free to contact the Department if you have questions (see

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