Tallahassee, FL – The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission is implementing new rules today to proactively protect Florida from a number of invasive species. The rules were approved in February.
Sarah Funk, FWC Nonnative Fish and Wildlife Program Coordinator, said that the new rules clarify rule language by defining terms and adds some high-risk nonnative animals to Florida’s Prohibited Nonnative Species List. They are mongoose, meerkat, raccoon dog, dhole, brushtail possum, flying fox, red-whiskered bul-bul, dioch, Java sparrow, pink starling, brown tree snake and three types of anaconda.
The rule changes include a 90-day grace period for people to get in compliance with the new rules. The grace period ends July 31, allowing commercial dealers who possess these species to sell their inventory. This is because in 90 days, selling the listed species and owning them as pets will be against the law.
There are also grandfathering language in the new rules for people who have prohibited species in personal possession. Those people will have until July 31 to submit a permit application to FWC, which would allow them to keep the animal for the rest of its life.
Funk says the public can help the FWC control nonnative invasive wildlife by reporting sightings to the Exotic Species Hotline at 888-IveGot1 (888-483-4681) or online.