Wild World of Animals has 30 years of experience working with and caring for wild animals!
Located in the heart of Southwestern Pennsylvania, we specialize in educational and entertaining wildlife shows for a variety of occasions and events.
We care for over 200 animals including: big cats, wolves, other large carnivores, primates, birds of prey, parrots, venomous and non-venomous snakes, crocodilians and other various reptiles, small mammals and amphibians. We travel the entire country educating and sharing our life’s passion with you!
Grant Kemmerer has been working with, training and caring for wildlife for over 30 years. Since childhood, he has always been fascinated with animals of every kind. Graduating from Florida International University, he started working professionally with animals in Miami, FL. He holds many state permits as well as federal permits from US Fish and Wildlife, US Department of the Interior and the US Department of Agriculture. He has been a guest animal expert on nationally televised shows such as Anderson Cooper, CBS Early Show, Fox and Friends, Martha Stewart, and the Meredith Vieira Show.
Animal Care, Ethics and Legalities
We are sometimes asked things such as: “Where do our animals come from?”; “What do we do with them when they are no longer used?”; “Is it cruel to keep them in captivity?” This section is designed to address issues like these in great detail.
Currently we care for about 200 animals. The source of these animals can be roughly broken down into three categories.
1) Animals given to us by people who purchase (legally) an animal in a pet store and no longer wish to care for it. These would be primarily reptiles or bird species that are common in that trade – species such as ball pythons, boa constrictors, spur thigh tortoises, alligators (legal in Pennsylvania), parrots, tarantulas, etc. People think that zoos will take these animals, but, as a rule, zoos will not take unwanted pets, feeling it gives the wrong message.
2) Injured or orphaned animals, which is roughly 80 percent of our North American wildlife comes to us thru rehabilitators or rescues. These organizations are tasked with trying to return these animals to the wild, but due to various circumstances some of the animals are not able to be returned. Things such as an injury that is too debilitating (loss of eye, limb, wing, etc.,) the animal being orphaned too young and therefore being hand-raised from an early age, becoming too bonded/imprinted to people or when the animal does not learn the proper skills to survive in the wild. The determination of release ability is decided by a licensed veterinarian. States often give a timeframe for placement, sometimes followed by euthanasia if no home is found.
3) Animals that are born at our facility or other licensed facilities, such as ours. These animals come to us either through purchase (endangered species cannot be bought, sold, traded or bartered across state lines without additional permits), trade or donation. Animals seen in captivity in the United States are almost always born in the United States, most countries have bans on wildlife exports, and there are international treaties that govern animals being taken from the wild. Exceptions are made at times when zoos look to bring in very specific and small numbers of a species to enhance the gene pool of a captive breeding population. Even then, it is a long and laborious process that is very complicated and heavily regulated.
There are numerous state and federal (in some cases municipal and county as well) agencies involved regarding the keeping of wild animals. We hold licenses from US Fish and Wildlife, US Department of the Interior, US Department of Agriculture and the Pennsylvania Game Commission, as well as many other state fish and game departments since we have performed our programs in 36 different states. Every aspect related to these animals, such as care, transportation, feeding, housing, veterinary care, acquisition and disposition is controlled by one or more agencies.
There is a misconception sometimes with the public that you can go online and buy an exotic animal and have it delivered to your door. This is simply not true, even websites that show animals for sale are only doing business with legal buyers and sellers, i.e. people with proper licenses and/or permits. Many states, counties and municipalities outright ban the private ownership of exotic animals. Many federal laws exist as well, so even if it were legal in one of the few states that allow private ownership of exotic animals; it would be trumped by the federal laws.
This brings us to the urban myth of a “black market” in exotics. I promise if you have a tiger in your house or on your property it will stay a secret for all of 10 minutes. It is also worth mentioning that if you were the person that sold the animal the feds would be knocking on your door in about 15 minutes. We support the permits and processes required for legal ownership since these animals in the wrong hands can be dangerous and have very specialized requirements for proper care. Many people do not care properly for their human children, pet dog or cat, so a tiger is out of the question.
There is a saying in the animal world: “if you want to make a small fortune, take a large fortune and go into animals.” People seldom work with wild animals to get rich – animals are a bottomless pit in terms of expenses. Even if the assumption is they are nothing more than assets to make money, you would be a horrible business person to not take care of them, as sickness and death would be sure to follow – all things that would greatly impact profit and loss. We often have years invested into an animal making it into a great animal for programs. A lack of care resulting in an animal loss doesn’t at all mean you just pull out your checkbook and buy another. I can’t express this enough. I have seen people attracted to exotic animals because of the attention that they receive due to their association with the animals. These people never last since it requires complete and total dedication, it is not a job it is a way of life and they just can’t give what is needed.
Animals held in captivity are viewed by some as unnecessary and even cruel. Like anything there are advantages and disadvantages for the animals. Disadvantages: we control every aspect of their life – from what they eat and when, to their mates or companions, living space and overall enrichment. We take these responsibilities very seriously and are always looking to make our animals lives the best they can have. The best evidence I can give to this success is the extraordinary life spans we have seen with our animals – including a mountain lion living to 24 years, a tiger to 23, silver fox to 18, a sloth to 20 (and counting), a black leopard to 23 and many more. The wild is also quite harsh with even top predators like lions and leopards only having 1 in 8 offsprings making it to adulthood. This is not even taking into consideration the added pressures presented by man today with decreased habitat, poaching/overharvesting of many species, human/animal conflict and climate change. In a perfect world, we would not need zoos, education outreach programs, conservation, international laws for protection of wildlife or wildlife rehabilitators. But that is not the case in the world we live in today.