Florida has nearly 1,300 native species of fish and
wildlife. It also has become home to nearly 300 species of nonnative fish and
wildlife. Florida's subtropical climate is ideal for many
foreign species to survive. If these species escape or are
released, they can easily become established here.
Many people possess native species for a variety of reasons -
for retail, tourism, education, rehabilitation, etc. Florida
requires permits for wildlife possession,
exhibition and sale. The FWC enforces the statutes and
regulations governing Florida's wildlife industry.
Commercial and private facilities must have permits for many
types of native and nonnative animals - including potentially
dangerous animals, such as Florida black bears and Florida
panthers. These facilities include zoos, circuses, alligator farms,
pet shops, tropical fish farms and individuals who own a class I,
II or III animal (see wildlife categories).
FWC officers routinely conduct inspections to ensure humane
treatment and sanitary conditions are in place for the animals, and
cage and security requirements are adhered to for public safety.
The FWC's regulations, relative to cage sizes, safety and humane
treatment, are among the most stringent in the nation.
For More Information
Division of Law Enforcement, Investigations Section
620 S. Meridian Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1600