The Don’t Let it Loose! campaign is run in partnership between SSISC and the Invasive Species Council of BC (ISCBC). It educates current and prospective pet owners about the harmful effects of releasing exotic pets into BC’s wild ecosystems. When released into the wild, exotic aquatic plants, invertebrates, reptiles, fish, and amphibians can out-compete native species for food and space, damage ecosystems, disrupt food sources, reduce access for aquatic recreation, and introduce parasites and disease into wild populations. Releasing pets into the wild is inhumane to the pet, harmful to the environment, and illegal.
In addition, releasing pets into an unsuitable habitat is considered animal cruelty and charges can be laid.
Before adopting an exotic pet
- Research the lifecycle of the pet so you can gain an understanding of how long you will be committing to care for the animal
- Understand the needs that the exotic pet will have (specific diet, habitat, supplies, veterinary services etc.)
- Do not take in a regulated or prohibited species of plant or animal
Unsure what to do with your unwanted exotic pet?
- Try to rehome the pet using friends, social media, online classifieds, etc.
- Contact the place where you purchased the animal to see if they will take it back.
- Contact local animal shelters and see if they will take the pet in for adoption.
- Contact local science centers, zoos or aquariums to see if they can use the animal for educational purposes.
- Dry and freeze unwanted aquatic plant material and seal it in a bag before putting it in the trash – do not compost.
- If all else fails, have a qualified veterinarian euthanize the animal in a humane manner; it’s far kinder than letting it starve to death in the wild or destroy the homes of native animals and plants.
Think you’ve spotted an invasive animal in the wild?