As the search for kangaroo named Storm continues into its second night in Jupiter Farms, we wanted to know how and why people own exotic animals in Florida.
Kangaroos require a class three permit. But the more dangerous ones, like big cats and crocodiles, require class one permits.
“You go east of 95, it’s beach life. Out here it’s a totally different world. It’s like Okeechobee,” said Kyle Asplundh, who owns 12.5 acres in Jupiter Farms, where his 100 crocodiles and 20 alligators live.
About 30 minutes from Kyle, Mark McCarthy’s Wildlife Sanctuary in The Acreage. Lions, tigers, ligers, and more.
“It’s a huge responsibility,” McCarthy said about owning exotic animals.
Both Mark and Kyle have class one permit state-the strictest rules for the most dangerous animals.
“When people want animals, you really got to know a lot about it, in my opinion before you get anything,” McCarthy said.
A class one takes proof you have enough experience with the animal, proper enclosures, insurance, and subject to regular inspection by FWC-all tied to a business. You can’t just do it for fun.
“You got this mindset of...you got a lot of responsibility for the people that work here, the tours that come here,” McCarthy said.
Kyle’s business is selling the babies.
Owning exotic animals requires humans are protected from them. There’s more to it.
“That’s what a big part of this is for, is education and showing people these animals are not cold-blooded killers. There’s a lot more to them,” Asplundh said.
To also protect the animals from us.