Nonnative Pet Amnesty Day offers options to pet owners
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Media contact: Karen Parker, 386-867-0516
If you have an exotic pet you can't care for
anymore, please don't open the door and set it free. The Florida
Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) offers a better
solution for you.
To help keep unwanted exotic pets out of Florida's
native ecosystems, the FWC and the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens
will host a Nonnative Pet Amnesty Day Sept. 25 from 10 a.m. to 2
p.m. in Jacksonville. Exotic reptiles, amphibians, birds, fish and
mammals will be accepted; domestic pets (dogs, cats, rabbits) will
not be accepted.
"The main purpose is to give pet owners an
alternative to releasing their exotic pets into the wild," said
Scott Hardin, Exotic Species Section leader with the FWC.
"Many of the 133 species of nonnative fish and wildlife established
in the wild in Florida resulted from releases by pet owners."
It is illegal to release any nonnative species in
Florida, but many pet owners are not aware of this or that most
captive species will not survive in the wild. Just as
important, it is not ecologically responsible to introduce a
species without a scientific study to confirm it will not harm
Some nonnative species have restrictions on
possession, while personal possession of animals that pose severe
ecological, economic or human health risks are not allowed in
Florida. These species, along with unrestricted pets, will be
accepted at Nonnative Pet Amnesty Day.
"We will not penalize those who choose the
responsible option of not releasing their pets into the wild,"
Hardin said. "This is about curbing our ongoing problem of
exotic fish and wildlife."
Nonnative pet amnesty events help increase
awareness of nonnative species' problems. The event is free
and open to the public. Animal experts will be on hand to
answer questions and help teach people how to be responsible pet
owners. Kids can get close to live animals on
For more information on amnesty day events and
nonnative species in Florida, visit MyFWC.com/Nonnatives.