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Someone Has To: Tell Paris No!
by Center for Biological Diversity
Wednesday Sep 13th, 2006 6:31 PM
Demand Paris Hilton Stop Collecting Illegal Wildlife
Free Baby Luv, The Captive Rainforest Kinkajou!
Alleged singer and celebutante Paris Hilton, desperate for attention – any attention – has recently inflicted her lifestyle on a succession of exotic pets as a publicity ploy. The latest victim of her affections is a captive “pet” kinkajou cloyingly named “Baby Luv,” which has appeared in public draped across Paris as if it were the latest fashion trend.

A kinka-what? The kinkajou (Potos flavus), also know as the “Honey Bear,” is a nocturnal tree-climbing mammal related to the raccoon that lives in the rainforests of Central and South America. Although kinkajous may appear cute and cuddly, they are wild animals that belong in the rainforest eating tropical fruit, not ducking from flashbulbs on fashion runways or sipping lattes in the cafes and trendy clubs of Los Angeles.

Innocent kinkajous such as the prisoner “Baby Luv” are often stolen from their natural habitat and sold abroad through the international wildlife trade. But hey, what does the biological diversity of the rainforest or the welfare of Baby Luv matter compared to Paris looking cool and hip?

Kinkajous are rare and threatened enough in Honduras that the country forbids exporting them without a permit, an effort to prevent the species from being needlessly exploited to satisfy the pet industry or the egos of so-called celebrities. Kinkajous in Honduras are supposed to be protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.

The international wildlife trade is a violent and exploitive $6 billion annual industry that threatens wild animals in almost every country of the world. In 2002, more than 38,000 mammals, 365,000 birds, 2 million reptiles, 49 million amphibians and 216 million fish were imported into the United States alone. Cruel practices are often used to obtain and transport these wild animals, and many species are closer to extinction due to the high demand for their fur and body parts or use as “pets.” Since 1996, more than 2,000 species have been classified as threatened by the World Conservation Union, partly due to the negative impacts from the international wildlife trade.

Baby Luv has apparently gained favor over Paris’s pet ferret (which is also illegal to own in California). How many more biting incidents before the self-centered celebrity abandons or discards the kinkajou to keep up with the latest animal trend?

Baby Luv exacted a measure of revenge for the affront of having to put up with Paris’s antics and shrieks, biting her skinny, tormenting arm last month and sending Paris to the hospital. However, Paris’s punishment does not quite match her crime.

In California it is illegal to import or possess kinkajous, ferrets or other wild animals without a valid permit. Fortunately, the state recognizes the serious threats that the international wildlife trade poses, both to wild animals from other countries and to U.S. species when these animals are imported and then abandoned or released.

But apparently Paris does not understand or share these concerns, and she continues to flaunt her violations of several of California’s wildlife protections laws (see Fish and Game Code Sections 2118 and 2185, 2189 and 2190). In a just world, Paris Hilton would be pursued, captured, displayed and prosecuted for criminal violation of these wildlife protection laws, facing civil penalties of up to $10,000 and imprisonment in the county jail for up to six months.

Wild animals belong in their natural habitats, and species like the kinkajou should not suffer needlessly from the horrors of the international wildlife trade. Since her mom or publicist apparently won’t do it, we’re hoping you will TELL PARIS: NO ILLEGAL TRADE IN WILDLIFE.

Send a message to Paris Hilton reminding her that kinkajous belong in the rainforest, not in Los Angeles as a celebrity prop. Demand that Paris stop supporting the illegal international wildlife trade and abide by state laws that ensure protection and treatment of wildlife.

Ask Paris to do the right thing. Insist that Paris turn over “Baby Luv” and any other illegal wildlife she possesses to an appropriate wildlife rescue organization, and urge her to speak out publicly to promote the conservation of wild animals and keeping wild animals in the habitats where they belong.

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by Pat Wright
(info [at] Thursday Sep 14th, 2006 8:10 AM
Referring to domestic ferrets as wild animals may give a hint to the author's knowledge of the subject matter. Domestic ferrets do not exist in the wild. The California civil code allows private ownership of any domestic animal, though the ferret is an exception. It is "not normally domesticated in the state of California" according to the Fish and Game code.

Please do not undermine our efforts to get legal status for our pets. A little ignorance goes along way.
by @ home in wilderness habitat
Friday Sep 15th, 2006 2:00 PM
comment wrote;
"Domestic ferrets do not exist in the wild."

Well, no. However, there is a wild ferret called the black-footed ferret that does exist in the wild, albeit an endangered species..

"Loss of habitat is the primary reason black-footed ferrets remain near the brink of extinction. Conversion of grasslands to agricultural uses, widespread prairie dog eradication programs and plague have reduced ferret habitat to less than 2 percent of what once existed. Remaining habitat is now fragmented, with prairie dog towns separated by great expanses of cropland and human development."

more info @;

Instead of spending time advocating for having domesticarted European ferrets as housepets, why not help adopt a black-footed ferret or support prairie habitat conservation programs instead??

"The Black-Footed Ferret Adoption Program, sponsored by Prairie Wildlife Research and the Black-Footed Ferret Recovery Implementation Team, is here! You can assist in the recovery of this endangered species by adopting a captive black-footed ferret. When you adopt a black-footed ferret, you will receive the following special items:

A certificate of adoption

E-mail updates about your ferret and other exciting program news

Access to special adoption materials and past newsletters on the Prairie

Wildlife Research website

A full-color black-footed ferret picture

The cost of adoption is $25 per ferret and all of the program proceeds go directly to black-footed ferret conservation efforts in captivity and the wild. Funds are used to purchase supplies such as vaccine, identification microchips, and other equipment used for captive breeding and field reintroduction. You can choose from four captive ferrets and read about their history and production. These ferrets currently reside in zoos and breeding centers across the USA and in Canada.

Please note this is a sponsorship program. You will NOT receive a black-footed ferret. Black-footed ferrets are wild animals and an endangered species. Possession of a black-footed ferret is illegal.

Choose your black-footed ferret and adopt today! You can choose from:

see adoptable ferrets aqui @;

Returning to the subject of kinkajous and Paris Hilton, i wrote a letter to Paris letting her know that rainforest canopy dwellers, primates, mammals etc.. all have very important roles in the distribution of rainforest plant species, some of which are medicinal and may contain the cure for cancer. This arguement also applies to primate research centers that kidnap/poach primates from their rainforest homes for research in captivity. The very act of removing the primates from their rainforest home results in their health, psychology, constitution, etc.. worsening from less sunlight, canopy plant/fruit diet, lack of freedom, etc..

The resulting depression, apathy, frustration, etc.. experienced by the captive primates will no doubt influence the accuracy of the research center's experiments as primate test subject's health and immune system worsens from the effects of long term depression. Not to mention it is cruel and unusual punishment for a rainforest dweller who's only ?crime? is eating fruits and distributing plant seeds, pollen, etc..

Kinkajous and all other rainforest primates/mammals belong safe and happy in their rainforest home. The most important thing for the kinkajous, like the ferret is conservation of the rainforest habitat..

Habitat conservation SI!!

!!NO mas exotic pets, por favor..

"They are in the same family as raccoons (Procyonidae), and have a similar role in rainforest ecosystems that raccoons do in temperate forest ecosystems. The kinkajous use their incredibly long tongues (around 6 inches long) to collect nectar. When collecting nectar they also collect pollen on their faces. This assists with pollination of other flowers."

kinkajou factpage @;
by FerretJunkie
(FerretJunkie [at] AOL.COM) Sunday Sep 17th, 2006 8:30 AM
Educating one's self about BFF is great. But the reasons behind trying to get California to reclassify domestic ferrets is due to the incorrect classification of these wonderful pets as wildlife. You can't own a BFF, but many do own domestic ferrets. Those that live in CA should be able to have their pets and not fear having them taken away.
Why spend time trying to legalize ferrets? That statement just sets my teeth on edge.
by Belle
Sunday Sep 17th, 2006 8:47 AM
There is no inconsistency in supporting both the wild, endangered black-footed ferret and legalization in California of the oft-maligned domestic ferret.

The former is a beautiful rare mammal whose dwindlling prairie habitat is essential to the survival of many species.

The latter is a wonderful pet enjoyed by milions across the rest of the United States.

Please support both!
by Sukie Crandall
(sukie [at] Sunday Sep 17th, 2006 11:11 AM
Yes, BFFs are wild and need help, but they are also a very distinctly different species from the domestic ferret.

In fact, but European Polecats (Mustela putorius) and Steepe Polecats (Mustela eversmanni) differ quite a bit genetically from the domestic ferret. Since ferrets have been domesticated for over 2,500 years it is possible that the genetic differences trace to many centuries of breeding, or it may be that they had an ancestor which no longer exists, or both. Certainly, domestic ferrets are anything but wild. So, there being Black Footed Ferrets does not mean that domestic ferrets are wild anymore than there being wild cats and wild dogs means that Rover and Puss are wild, or there being wild pigs, horses, and sheep means that the domestic versions of those animals are wild. It's kind of a silly argument, actually.

Nor do domestic ferrets have a bad bite rate. In a study by pediatrician Dr. Freddie Ann Hoffman, MD, the serious bite rate by ferrets was 1/200th that of dogs PER CAPITA ANIMAL, so, yes, it was adjusted for there being more dogs. In other studies the serious bite rate by ferrets is similar to that of domestic rabbits.

Meanwhile, domestic ferrets have never passed rabies on to anyone else world-wide and have a very low rate of catching it (lower than for humans in the U.S.), plus they have had a vaccine which meets the strict USDA criteria for effectiveness since 1990, and have been well enough studied that ONLY dogs, cats, and ferrets who have been vaccinated meet CDC and NASPHV (National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians) needs for quarantine rather than sacrifice in the case of a bite. The CDC has some wonderful materials on this, and the NASPHV has the annual "Compendium for Animal Rabies Prevention and Control".

As to the kinkajou, though -- having worked with Procyonids and Primates in my distant past -- I do NOT support the taking of such animals as personal accessories. In a study from the 70s (having not read more recent ones) of smuggled wooly monkeys about 20 monkeys died for each that was successfully smuggled. Then the successfully smuggled ones wound up pay the price for being in social setting which did not match their instincts. Many wound up with rickets, early death was the norm, and severe attacks were not uncommon. The rate of animals dead for each successfully smuggled was worse for apes such as chimps in some other journal articles back then.

There is no reason to think that IF this was originally a smuggled kinkajou that its species faired any better.

Even if it was not from a smuggled source kinkajous can do very real damage (which may be only fair since humans do damage to them when they keep them in a setting which is not a kinkajou social setting). Like a primate with prehensile tail, a kinkajou can hold one with all limbs and tail while biting. It is much harder to dislodge an animal with that kind of tail during a biting incident.

Then there is a zoonotic diseases aspect. Smuggled wild animals (and, again, I do NOT know the source of this animal) and bushmeat are both sources of spread of diseases to the human population. Even currently about 60% of the TYPES of diseases that Americans get are zoonotic diseases.

I strongly believe in zoonotic parks as a way to preserve animal species whose habitat is being lost, and even more believe in work to maintain the habitats such as that of Conservation International. Private homes without a proper social and health setting, though, are best avoided for wild animals.

by Debra Chapman
(ember1228 [at] Sunday Sep 17th, 2006 7:56 PM
I want to know why Paris Hilton can own Ferrets in California, where it is ILLEGAL to own them, but NO ONE ELSE CAN?

Is this a, a, DOUBLE STANDARD!!!!!! No, I can't believe that Arnold would allow this to happen.....

Come on folks, they're afraid that ferrets will hurt the environment if they get loose? They have been legal here in Michigan for awhile now and we have not lost a rabbit, squirrel, possum, etc., from a ferret attack yet. Matter of fact, the FERRET would die if lost in the wild. They CANNOT GO FERRAL! I have had more than my share of ferrets that have been "turned loose" and have been half starved and dehydrated because they could not find food or water on their own.

Let's get real here. The ONLY reason Paris Hilton can own two ferrets and a Kinkajou is because she has M-O-N-E-Y......or rather her DADDY has. And influence. If they were just average people, those animals would have been taken away long ago.

Lets make the officials stick to their own rules. If NO ONE ELSE can own these animals, SHE CAN'T EITHER!

by Ember O'Failey
Sunday Sep 17th, 2006 8:54 PM
My, My, My.....what a ruckus. All over poor Paris. Why, the poor little girl is just trying to bring some love into her sad, lonely life through her pets. Yeah, RIGHT!

Why do people slways assume that they have the RIGHT to "own" wild animals? Excuse would you like it if someone decided to put YOU in a cage and keep YOU as a "pet". Yes, I know, I know, you are not a "dumb" animal, you are an intelligent, human being! You have feelings, you feel pain, you are smart enough to learn complicated and intricate jobs. Animals could never do that!

There are dogs that can detect drugs and explosives. 'Passive' drugs dogs (used to sniff people as they pass to determine whether they are carrying drugs, but not to actually touch them) are often Labradors, known for their placid and friendly nature. 'Active' drugs dogs (which search for drugs in locations instead of on people) and explosives dogs are usually Springer Spaniels, known for their inquisitiveness, intelligence and enthusiasm. General purpose dogs and passive drugs dogs are usually trained to search for objects as well.

Bloodhounds can find people, It is a scenthound, famed for its ability to follow a scent many days old, over vast distances. It possesses the keenest sense of smell of any breed of dog, as well as an extremely strong tracking instinct.

There are also some dogs, called cadaver dogs, are trained in detecting the odor of decomposing bodies. Dogs' noses are so sensitive that they are even capable of detecting bodies that are under running water.

There are even dogs who can sniff out cancer.......can you?

In the year 2000, The Discovery Channel published a programme called The Smile of a Dolphin – Do Animals Have Emotions? The programme highlighted examples of many animals including giraffes, pigs, foxes, dolphins and birds which all showed examples of animals showing emotions such as love, joy, pain, sorrow, grief and anger. Humans and other mammals have essentially three brains in one. Among other things, these control our nervous system, breathing, reproduction, muscles, reflexes and our emotions. Many animals will mourn and grieve just like humans if there is a death of a loved one, as demonstrated by Blackfriars Bobby – the little Scottie dog who sat beside his dead master and pined for him.

There are some species that use particular tools as an essential part of their foraging behaviour, for example the Woodpecker Finch of the Galapagos Islands. Several species have now been shown to be capable of more flexible tool use. A well known example is Jane Goodall's observation of chimpanzees "fishing" for termites in their natural environment, and captive great apes are often observed to use tools effectively; several species of corvids have also been trained to use tools in controlled experiments, or use bread crumbs for bait-fishing.

Closely related to tool use is the study of reasoning and problem solving. Many of the data on these issues come from earlier comparative psychologists such as Wolfgang Köhler, rather than recent experiments. It is clear that animals of quite a range of species are capable of solving a range of problems that are argued to involve abstract reasoning; modern research has tended to show that the performances of Köhler's chimpanzees, who could achieve spontaneous solutions to problems without training, were by no means unique to that species, and that apparently similar behaviour can be found in animals usually thought of as much less intelligent, if appropriate training is given.

You can find all of this information online, as I did. Makes you think twice about animals, doesn't it?

NOW......DO we have the right to put wild animals in cages and keep them as pets? Paris, please read this.....think about what I've said......release the Kinkajou to a wildlife center or somewhere that it can live in an environment other than yours. Restaurants and clubs may be where YOU prefer to spend your time, but trust me, Baby Luv doe NOT normally sit at a table and drink a martini.

Monday Sep 18th, 2006 8:51 PM
by Linda M.
Wednesday Sep 20th, 2006 3:21 PM
I have nothing to add to that, only to support both domestic ferrets as well as the Black Footed Ferrets!

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