We understand the deep emotional bonds we form with cats and dogs, but what’s going on with people who choose exotic and often risky animals as pets? Do exotic and dangerous animals offer a unique emotional connection? Something we can’t get from other humans or traditional pets?
Wild & Dangerous peers deep into the relationships between people and their exotic pets to answer some core questions: What is a pet? Can we transform any wild creature from any environment into a companion just by bringing it home and giving it a name? Do we have the right to own wild animals as property? What defines the line between wild and domesticated? Can exotic animals adapt to new environments and live enriched lives in captivity, or do they only belong in nature? What are the real dangers for owners, pets and the environment?
Meet Denise and her giant Tegu lizard, Roscoe, in Nova Scotia, Yasmin and her estranged ‘Ikea’ monkey, Darwin, in Ontario, and Zuzana and Scott in Nevada with their pet lion Bam-Bam. Their personal stories reveal the immediate dangers, the public safety concerns, the costs of keeping exotic animals, and the importance of responsible ownership. Their situations point to an illicit exotic pet trade that thrives amidst a patchwork of loose, conflicting laws across North America that are now under scrutiny in the wake of recent high-profile cases of escaped pets.
For the big picture on exotic pet culture, the focus remains on relationships.
Anthrozoology is a new inter-disciplinary science that studies human-animal interactions. Responding to the ideas presented by the pet owners themselves, the experts weigh in on the issues from the fields of psychology, philosophy and zoology.
Wild & Dangerous will present colourful characters and fantastic creatures to unveil a picture of western society entering a strange and uncertain era of exotic pet culture while sitting on the brink of a larger understanding about the emotional connections between humans and animals.
Wild & Dangerous is written and directed by award-winning filmmaker Jason Young, produced by Rick LeGuerrier and Timothy M. Hogan of Halifax-based Dream Street Pictures, in association with CBC Television.