The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is extending the deadline for the public to respond to its rule development survey on changes to the rules on captive wildlife, according to a press release at the agency's website. FWC is considering new requirements for the various classes of captive wildlife (Class I, II, and III) and licensing requirements for people selling or exhibiting Class III wildlife. Class I wildlife include gorillas, chimpanzees, lions, leopards, tigers and bears. Class II wildlife include several species of small monkeys, small cats, coyotes and wolves. Class I and II wildlife are potentially dangerous to people. A link to the survey is available here. The deadline has been extended to December 7, 2009, apparently because of a "limited response from the public." I'd encourage anyone concerned with captive wildlife to take the survey.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Picture source here.
"People may move here from another state with their pet piranha only to find out their possession is illegal in Florida. Other times, someone might have purchased one illegally. For whatever reason - maybe they're moving or just don't want them anymore," [Paul Shafland, exotic fish biologist with the FWC] said. "Then they think the best thing to do is to release them in a nearby pond, but they couldn't be more wrong. In fact, that's the very worst thing they could do. Piranha in a freshwater pond could feed on native freshwater species, such as bream and largemouth bass."
Possession of piranha in Florida is punishable by a maximum $1,000 fine and a year in jail. Releasing any prohibited species, such as piranha, into the wild in Florida is a first-degree misdemeanor, also punishable by a $1,000 fine and a year in jail. In fact, releasing any nonnative species into the wild is a crime.
Anyone who has a piranha or knows someone who does should call the local FWC regional office and turn it in, without fear of repercussions. Otherwise the piranha owner runs the risk of being caught and punished.
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If you suspect a wildlife law violation, report it to the Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404 FWCC (3922). If your information results in an arrest, you may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. To learn more about the FWC's Wildlife Alert program or to report a violation online, visit MyFWC.com/Violation.
Florida Today reports that Brevard County has delayed its selection of a new director for the animal services and enforcement department after questions were raised about one of the finalists. Brevard has been without a permanent director since February of this year.