After Wild Boar Surrendered, Experts Say ‘Wild Animals Are Not Pets’

November 21, 2017 8:00 am · 14 comments

(by Janis Mara) – Although Spirit, the wild boar surrendered in San Francisco by people who had tried to make him a pet, will be OK, it’s usually not a good idea for humans to try to adopt a wild animal, experts said.

Spirit was found when he was a baby three months ago near Mount Shasta. They brought him home to San Francisco to keep as a pet, but developed doubts about keeping him as he got bigger, Animal Care and Control spokeswoman Deb Campbell said.

“Fortunately, Spirit is looking forward to a good life. He’s a lucky pig. But he is an exception,” Campbell said.

The spokeswoman said Animal Care found a licensed rehabilitation facility for Spirit. If he can be successfully rehabilitated to forage for food in the wild, he’ll be released.

If this goal can’t be accomplished, he’ll be able to stay in the facility, she said. But not all wild animals adopted by humans are so lucky.

“When wild animals are babies, they are very cute, and there’s this desire on peoples’ part to connect with wild animals,” said Alison Hermance of WildCare, a wildlife hospital and environmental education center in San Rafael.

However, when the critter reaches sexual maturity, it goes from being a cute baby to whatever wild animal it is – a wild squirrel, a wild raccoon, a wild boar, Hermance said.

“As soon as it gets to the age where it would have been on its own in the wild, there is no biological imperative for it to be calm, to not bite, to not run away, to not be a wild animal,” the spokeswoman said.

“You end up with aggression, depression, parrots tearing feathers out of their chests, animals clawing their way out of cages,” Hermance said.

Also, it’s hard to replicate a wild diet in a captive situation, so an animal can develop nutritional deficiencies. Hermance cited the example of a wild harrier hawk whose owners fed it only hamburger meat.

“They didn’t realize the hawk eats the entire rodent. They get calcium from the bones, vitamin A from the liver, fiber from the hair,” she said.

Additionally, possessing and transporting wildlife is illegal in California, with potential fines between $500 and $10,000.

If a person finds a wild animal in distress, the best thing to do is to call Animal Care and Control or a center like WildCare with trained personnel.

“We always raise them with their species. We keep our interaction with them at a minimum, and as soon as they are healed, we get them back out into the wild,” Hermance said.

Suzanne November 21, 2017 at 8:36 AM

People need to stop thinking they can have some kind of special relationship with a wild animal. Wild animals will never, ever love people or think we are special to them. Their brains don’t work like that. The coolest experience you’ll ever have is to step back and just observe the beauty of its wildness. STOP trying to domesticate them! Idiots!

Hoo-ha November 21, 2017 at 9:10 AM

“However, when the critter reaches sexual maturity, it goes from being a cute baby to whatever wild animal it is –,”
Apparently, just like men.

Dawg November 21, 2017 at 9:50 AM

And yet zoos are legal. The statement that wild animals develop depression and aggression in captivity is true. This is why the bears, elephants and big cats mope around in the zoo. This is why the chimps throw feces at people. This is why an animal will turn on its trainer and attack.
God meant animals to be free, not to be kept in captivity.

GRX November 21, 2017 at 10:00 AM

Grill it.

CSS November 21, 2017 at 10:10 AM

No cure for stupidity which abounds nowadays…

Silva November 21, 2017 at 10:55 AM

It sometime seems stupidity does reign supreme. I used to go to summer camp where wild boars and sows came through camp daily, often with cute piglets, and you had to make sure your soap wasn’t in your suitcase at the foot of your bed day and night, cause they’d find it and eat it! We had wooden fruit crates nailed on trees to keep our soap safe. Those animals grow up to be enormous!

Momo November 21, 2017 at 11:20 AM

OMG #2 that is the best post I’ve ever seen…

Lou November 21, 2017 at 12:02 PM

The people that adopted Spirit and the Animal Care and Control spokeswoman Deb Campbell are IDIOTS in my opinion. Spirit should be euthanized. It should be illegal to release an invasive species back into the wild.
Check this link if you don’t believe me.

Dera November 21, 2017 at 12:20 PM

They are when they are domesticated

Simonpure November 21, 2017 at 12:24 PM


ME November 21, 2017 at 1:30 PM

It says they’ll try to release it into the wild later if possible. Is that true? So much effort is put into eradicating wild boars that it would surprised me if they actually tried to release it. If they do, can we assume it’ll be fixed first?

BoycottTheCircus November 21, 2017 at 5:44 PM

Man, why are people so stupid?

Mom-in-Concord November 22, 2017 at 5:13 PM

“When wild animals are babies, they are very cute…However, when the critter reaches sexual maturity, it goes from being a cute baby to whatever wild animal it is.”

In our house those cute babies became teenagers. We definitely plan on releasing them as soon as possible.

Jerk November 27, 2017 at 5:36 PM

Just look at the damage these “cute” boars have done in Texas……check out some of the vids on youtube on how they are dealing with their eradication.

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