Protecting Captive Animals

It is common knowledge that wild animals kept in captivity are on the rise in New York with animals including cougars, wolves, porcupines, bears, snakes, squirrels, hyenas, lions and primates. A large unregulated trend in New York is in the breeding of wild cats with house cats and with wild dogs with domestic dogs. There is no wild animal census in the United States, therefore, the number of populated wild animals in captivity is at best an educated guess.



The Jane Goodall Institute has created a checklist for what to look for in in facilities that provide care for captive animals. By using this checklist, you’ll get a better idea of the quality of care of captive animal facilities near you.


  1. Is the facility accredited by the ASA (American Sanctuary Association) or AZA (Association of Zoos & Aquariums)?
  2. IF YES, they are likely a good facility.
  3. Do your research on the social media accounts, website of the facility, and review photos on sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor. What kind of imagery/reviews do you see?
  4. Are there photos of people posing with and touching the captive animals? IF YES, they are likely a NOT so good facility, as this is a sign of poor captive care and exploitation.
  5. Look at their website or reviews of their facility (start with the ‘About’ page/section): Do they limit the hours in the day in which visitors may enter the facility, thereby providing down time for the animals?
  6. If YES, this is a sign of a good facility.
  7. Look at their website and/or reviews of their facility (maybe specifically the ‘About’ page/section and/or staff page); Do they have a vet on staff?
  8. If YES, this is a sign of a good facility.
  9. Look at their website or reviews of their facility: Is there enough space in the enclosures for the animals and are the enclosures/animals kept clean (clean food/water)?
  10. If YES, this is a sign of a good facility.


Wild animals banned by New York
  • Any Wild Animals
  • Nonhuman primates and prosimians
  • All cats and hybrids except domesticated and feral cats
  • All dogs except domesticated dogs and captive bred fennec foxes
  • Bears
  • All venomous snakes
  • Burmese pythons
  • Reticulated pythons
  • African rock pythons
  • Green anacondas
  • Yellow anacondas
  • Australian amethystine pythons
  • Asiatic monitors
  • Nile monitors
  • Whitethroat monitors
  • Black throat monitors
  • Crocodile monitors
  • Komodo dragons
  • Crocodiles
  • Lions
  • Raccoon Dogs
  • Wolfdogs
  • Animals indistinguishable from wolves or coyotes

**Animals that are grandfathered in under a Dangerous Wildlife License may be kept as pets