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KIMYA - animals in need

Kimya lionsLarge cats have long been a favorite of the exotic pet industry. There are more than 10,000 pet tigers in the United States. That's more than the estimated number of tigers remaining in the wild.

In many instances, large cats are used as "watch cats" and many are destined to live miserable lives. Those whose body parts are not sold as medicines or aphrodisiacs often end up declawed, defanged and living in appalling conditions. Many are bred several times, only to have their cubs taken away when they are only a few days old to be hand-reared for the exotic pet trade.

Large cats suffer from a variety of health problems in captive environments. Most illnesses stem from poor nutrition, lack of proper medical care and inadequate housing. Poor nutrition and confinement often lead to metabolic bone disease, which is easily preventable with proper nutrition. Debilitated animals suffer from bones so weak that they can fracture under the animal's own weight. Many large cats also develop cataracts due to poor nutrition.

Although these animals can never be returned to the wild, we can ensure that they live the remainder of their lives in a stimulating, peaceful and healthy environment.

Kimya elephantsIn their natural habitat, elephants roam a wide range in search of the 250-500 pounds of vegetation they consume each day. They are social animals and need interaction with members of their own species.

In captivity, many elephants are singly-housed and chained or otherwise confined in very small areas. Their days are monotonous and lonely, with little physical or mental stimulation. As a result, most elephants in captivity have severe psychological and medical problems.

One of the greatest challenges to maintaining captive elephants is foot care. Lack of exercise combined with unnatural flooring surfaces frequently lead to severe foot disease and degenerative joint disease.

Elephants need plenty of room to roam. Although we realize that elephants belong in the wild, these elephants cannot be returned to the wild.

Kimya gazelle Many exotic hoofed animals are bred to supply hunting ranches in the United States. According to the Humane Society, there are an estimated 1,000-1,200 hunting ranches currently in operation in the U.S.

Often animals at hunting ranches have been hand-raised and are partially tame. Animals that would normally flee a human or vehicle in the wild instead approach them, unaware that the truck that brings them feed can also bring trophy-seeking hunters. Some ranches boast as many as 50 different species available to kill.

Animals that end up on hunting ranches come from a variety of sources, but most are supplied by a few animal dealers. Dealers acquire the animals from auctions, private breeders, roadside zoos, unaccredited zoos and as surplus from accredited zoos.

Some animals available for trophy-seekers include those that are threatened or endangered in the wild. A partial list of hunting ranch stock includes: zebra, wildebeest, gazelle, addax, oryx, sable, kudu and giraffe. A variety of large carnivores are also frequently hunted at these facilities. Many hunting ranches make it clear that for the right price, any animal may be hunted

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