Crackdown on invasive species impacts local rescues

At over 50 years old, the mom-to-be is the oldest known snake at any zoo. She is a ball python,...
At over 50 years old, the mom-to-be is the oldest known snake at any zoo. She is a ball python, a species that can reproduce both sexually and asexually.(Source: St. Louis Zoo via CNN)
Published: Mar. 23, 2021 at 11:31 AM CDT
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SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission voted last month to ban the breeding and possession of 16 nonnative species. This move comes as those animals have had detrimental effects on Florida’s native wildlife over the years.

The ban would not require individual owners to get rid of their pets, rather they will have to obtain a no-cost permit, which would allow the animal to live out the rest of its life. As far as businesses, they will be required over a three-year period to stop breeding these species and to get rid of their breeding stock.

For wildlife rescues, a special permit is set in place. Justin Matthews is the owner of Matthews Wildlife Rescue. He has applied for this special permit and says that this move is a smart decision.

“It is good, I think, that people are not allowed to have certain types of pets -- exotics -- because it is not what they think it is before they get it. Then they just take it out and let it go, and that does harm to our environment,” said Matthews.

Matthews is the owner of an iguana named Causeway, which he uses for educational purposes.

“This guy, if he was out in the wild he would be eating a lot of foliage, a lot of flowers, and things like that,” Matthews explained. “Then he would come upon a bird’s nest that have eggs in it or babies and he would eat those also. Those are our native wildlife and are federally protected. So that is the damage that he could do while he is out there.”

The list of the 16 species includes various pythons, iguanas and tegus.

For a list of those species and more information on these new rules, you can check out the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation website by clicking here.

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