Exotic pets include reptiles, small animals, and even some basic farm animals. But I know what you mean in this article. I do think it's wrong if someone doesn't have the means to take care of an exotic animal to keep them in cages. But on the other hand, some have strong bonds with exotic animals like lions or monkeys, maybe because they saved them when they were young or rescued them from danger. Some of these people keep their "pets" in a contained environment that's suited for the animal and release them when the animal is recovered or ready.
I have two chinchillas and the chinchillas around today, commonly cared for as pets, come from the original 11 that were first brought into the United States. However, originally bred for their fur, people began to love these exotic animals and now they aren't bred for their fur. Chinchillas that are kept as pets today couldn't go back into their natural environment because now, for generations, they have been domesticated. But if someone hadn't chosen one as a pet, they'd still be bred for their fur.
So perhaps the more we see exotic animals being kept as "pets", the less they'll become endangered and hunted.