Target: President of Armenia, Serzh Sargsyan
Goal: Stop the importation of exotic and dangerous animals into Armenia
A growing and dangerous trend among Armenia’s elite has resulted in the importation of exotic and endangered animals into the country. Those who are wealthy bare their status by purchasing and housing animals such as lions, tigers, and apes in their homes. Not only are these animals not being properly cared for, but these owners are endangering the lives of their neighbors and themselves. The Armenian government has laws regarding care toward endangered and exotic species, but no action has been taken against neglectful owners. President Serzh Sargsyan must stop the importation of endangered animals into the country at once.
While there are laws in Armenia that prevent the export of animals from the wild, citizens are allowed to import animals from zoos. This was how six tigers entered Armenia, hailing from countries such as Ukraine, Belgium, Chile, and Kazakhstan. In the case of tigers, documentation must be provided to show the tiger’s origins and that it came from a family born and raised in the zoo. Despite border control guards checking the documentation of these animals, there are many exotic animals who do not wind up in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. This database keeps record of all endangered animals that have been traded, however, animals such as bonobos and crocodiles have been smuggled into the country and are not found in the database.
Politicians such as Gagik Tsarukian, who is the leader of the Prosperous Armenia Party, maintains his own private zoo filled with lions. Others who are wealthy or of the elite class keep these exotic animals as status symbols. It is quite obvious that these animals are not being provided for if the owners only care about their status symbol instead of the animals’ well being. Sign the petition below to demand that President Sargsyan remedy this problem and make it illegal to import any endangered animal from zoos.
Dear President Serzh Sargsyan,
Your nation has been under scrutiny by animal conservationists because many of your wealthy and elite are housing exotic and endangered animals. Tigers, lions, bonobos, and other wildlife can be found in a person’s home, where it endangers the lives of not just the owners, but the neighbors as well. It angers me that your nation is allowing this action to continue.
Many of our mega fauna are endangered due to human activity. Ignoring the issue of imported animals will not save these endangered species. I urge you to put a stop to this at once, so our tigers and lions can continue to flourish in their natural habitats.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: J. Patrick Fischer via Wikimedia Commons