I ended up here on Herp Center because my kids kept catching toads, snakes, turtles and skinks and insisting that they wanted to keep them as pets. I told them that I think it's a bad idea to take animals from the wild population to make them pets, particularly amphibians and box turtles (which are seriously threatened by human destruction of their habitats and in the case of eastern box turtles, by over-collection from sensitive wild populations). So we ended up getting our leopard geckos as a way of letting the kids have reptile pets they could handle and love. I explained that these geckos come from captive-bred lines, which means that wild populations weren't being damaged by the pet trade.
Now, of course I know that captive-bred animals come from lines that lead back (in many cases not so many generations) to wild-caught ancestors. So the ethical/conservation difference may be negligible in some cases. And if you don't know an animal's provenance, it's possible that an animal you buy in a pet store may even be wild-caught.
I've noticed that some folks here talk about keeping wild-caught animals as pets, and I'm not trying to pass judgment or anything, in any way. But I am interested in discussing this ethical/conservation issue with others who may have a different view, particularly since folks here in many cases have much more knowledge of these animals than I do. Would anyone be interested in sharing your views on this, in the friendly and educational way that things are discussed in these forums? My view may be ill-informed or naive, and I'd be open to learning more.