By Zander Grable
Animal tracks, located in Agua Dulce, California has many exotic animals filling its sanctuary. Most of these animals come from illegal pet trades as well as being rescued from wildlife.
“So animal tracks is a 501 C3 nonprofit that is built for taking in exotic animals that need a forever home for a whole bunch of reasons. Injured wildlife, pet trade, confiscations,” said Stacy Gunderson, executive director of Animal Tracks.
Ever since starting back in 2002, animal tracks has continued to teach people about the dangers of having exotic animals as pets.
“So most of the animals come to us from people who have gone out and bought these animals as a pet and decided, you know, I’m really not really not set up for this. It smells, it’s up all night, it bites. Really and truly, we want to get to you before you go to Vegas and buy yourself an animal and tell you what a good choice a dog or a cat is,” said Gunderson
Studies have shown that after people watch a video of a monkey and human interacting with each other, they believe they have what it takes to own one of these wild animals.
“I don’t want people to come here and say “that was so amazing. I want to go get a monkey.” I want to touch their hearts. I want to inspire them to keep the world wild,” Gunderson explains.
Chrissy the baboon, a longtime resident of animal tracks, is a prime example of why wild animals should stay wild.
“This animal is a seed spreader. So her job is to grow the world’s rainforest with her fecal matter. So if we took out all of the birds and monkeys and kangaroos and kinkajous, it would be up to us to farm the world’s jungles to keep them growing, and yet this animal can do it effortlessly,” said Gunderson.
Animals have a huge impact on our global ecosystem and should be left in the wild or taken to places such as animal tracks to be properly taken care of.