P.E.I. wildlife officials will soon be cracking down on Islanders who own unregistered exotic pets, but will first hold an amnesty day.
'We've even found a 9.5-foot snake that somebody just let go.' — wildlife biologist Chuck Gallison
Provincial wildlife biologist Chuck Gallison told CBC News Friday public safety is the number one concern. He said there are some animals the province doesn't want here, such as monkeys or poisonous fish. Someone once asked to to bring in an alligator, but Gallison said no. After hearing about a recent incident in Ontario, he's glad he did.
"I was up at a conference, and somebody let an alligator go into a local pond," he said.
"No one was bitten but they took over three months to catch the thing."
But Gallison knows there are some unusual animals brought in without permission, because occasionally they surface.
"We've even found a 9.5-foot (2.5-metre) snake that somebody just let go, and it was on the side of the road. It was dying. We found that in the Oyster Bed Bridge area," he said.
Pet stores on P.E.I. sell a variety of exotic pets under licence by the province, and they can issue permits to the new owners. That way, wildlife officials can keep track of what's out there.
Gallison estimates there could be more than 100 unlicensed exotic creatures on P.E.I. So the province is launching an education campaign to get more people to register their exotic pets.
"We're not saying people can't have them, but we want to see their facilities, and we want to know that they know how to look after the animal," said Gallison.
Aside from brochures at pet stores, Gallison says an Amnesty Day is also planned at its offices on the Upton Road in Charlottetown.
"We'll have a number of vet college students come here for a day and we'll see who shows up. We could have one, or we could have a zoo here, I really don't know."
Gallison says the amnesty day will be held sometime this fall.