Wild Animals As Pets?

By Pam Bolton, Executive Director

Wildlife Center of Missouri


Frequently, people call the Wildlife Center of Missouri when they find injured, sick or baby animals that they fear are orphaned. We sincerely appreciate the calls from individuals who have the animals’ well-being in mind.  We work closely with the callers in an effort to provide information and assistance that often helps to save the animals’ lives.  If medical care is needed, we ask you to bring the animal to the Center.


Occasionally, people ask us how to care for wild animals as they plan to keep them.  It is unlawful to keep wild animals as pets.  To possess a wild animal, you must obtain a license from the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDOC).  The Wildlife Center is licensed by both MDOC and U.S. Fish and Wildlife.


Eight years ago, the Wildlife Center accepted arctic foxes as permanent residents of the facility, even though are not native to Missouri.  The foxes could not be released, in any environment, since they had been bred in captivity and did not have the needed skills to survive on their own.  The Center’s staff and volunteers provided excellent care to ensure that the foxes remained secure and comfortable.


Frosty, an arctic female and Stella, an arctic marble fox have served as education ambassadors over the past eight years.  Many of our visitors on field trips, summer camp, open house and other events have had the pleasure of observing Frosty and Stella and have been in awe of their beauty.  The Center teaches children and adults that animals often suffer unfair consequences when people choose to breed or keep wildlife as pets.


Sadly, Frosty became ill this summer and passed away a few months ago at the age of fourteen.  (In the wild, the average life span for a fox is 6-10 years.)  Frosty is buried across from her enclosure where she remains close to Stella, her dear friend and roommate of eight years.  Although I am confident that the foxes receive superb

care; if they were given a voice, they would ask for a life of freedom.


There are countless pets (dogs, cats, domestic rabbits, horses, farm animals, etc.) looking for permanent homes.  When you want to add a pet to your family, visit the shelters and rescue groups.  Keep the “WILD” in wildlife.


We invite you to join us for our fifth annual trivia night, “Go Wild at Mardi Gras” on Saturday, February 13, 2010 at Congregation Shaare Emeth.  First, second and third place prizes for trivia winners and prizes for best Mardi Gras mask/costume and best decorated table.  To register for Trivia Night, call 636-394-1880 or for more information visit us on the web www.mowildlife.org