Owning native wildlife as a pet is a privilege in Victoria and the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) is reminding owners that they have responsibilities they need to adhere to.
‘‘Pet owners have responsibilities and must make sure they are registered, cared for and fed, ’’ DELWP’s acting program manager resource protection and management Leigh Murray said.
‘‘Our wildlife officers have received a spike in the number of complaints concerning the possession of wildlife without appropriate licences, ’’ Mr Murray said.
‘‘We are following up on these including people allowing their licences to expire without renewing them and people obtaining wildlife from illegal avenues.
‘‘In a recent case, two Wangaratta residents were fined $600 each and convicted in the Wangaratta Magistrates’ Court in relation to the possession of a Carpet Python without a Basic Wildlife Licence.
‘‘A Tatura man was fined and convicted in Shepparton Magistrates’ Court in April for taking a poisonous Eastern Brown Snake from the wild and keeping it as a pet.
‘‘It is not only snakes we are investigating, many native birds are kept without licences or obtained from questionable sources.
‘‘It is a reminder to the public that some wildlife can be possessed as pets but none can come from the wild.
‘‘Wildlife that require a licence to keep can only be obtained from other current licence-holders.
‘‘People finding injured or orphaned wildlife must, as soon as possible, deliver them to an authorised wildlife shelter in the area.
‘‘The regulations and licences are to ensure wild populations of native species are protected.
‘‘Despite being common domestic pets, some native species remain threatened in the wild, such as the Carpet Python, so it is important that these animals remain in their home ranges.’’
If people are aware of wildlife that has been taken or suspected of being taken from wild populations, please report this to DELWP’s customer service centre on 136186.
Information can be provided anonymously, however, officers may need details to follow up on the initial report. All information is treated confidentially.
■For more information on keeping wildlife as pets, visit www.wildlife.vic.gov.au