25 September 2023

Environmental pets to get the flick

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Community comment on how the ACT might manage its invasive and exotic animals better has been invited by the Minister for the Environment, Mick Gentleman.

Mr Gentleman said there was a need to protect the environment from animals that harmed biodiversity and ecosystems in the Canberra region.

He said proposed changes to the Pest Animals Declaration (under the Pest Plants and Animals Act 2005) would help manage the risks that invasive species posed.

“More than 380 mammals, birds, reptiles, invertebrates, amphibians and fish are proposed to be added to the Pest Animals Declaration, significantly increasing the 209 animal species or groups of species currently listed,” Mr Gentleman said.

“Exotic ants, snakes, toads and the Indian Myna bird (pictured) are among 44 species that are proposed to be listed.”

The Minister said he also proposed to list feral horses as an introduced and invasive species, reflecting the harm they caused to the environment.

“Most are high risk species that are frequently detected as stowaways or found in smuggled goods,” Mr Gentleman said.

“The listings will bring the ACT into line with other States and will help pursue a national management approach,” he said.

“We are also reviewing the list of animals that can be kept in captivity, bred, traded or imported without a licence.”

He said the Conservator of Flora and Fauna had removed Arabian Camels and 77 bird species from the Exempt Animals Declaration because they posed a significant risk to local native species and ecosystems should they escape into the wild.

These animals would now require a licence if they were being kept in the ACT.

“The proposed changes are expected to impact a small number of animal owners and won’t affect the owners of cats, dogs and other common pets,” Mr Gentleman said.

Public consultation ends on 10 July and an 11-page information paper on the proposed changes can be accessed at this PS News link.

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