News Releases

FWC amends captive wildlife rules

News Release

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Media contact: Captain John West, 850-488-6253

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) agreed Wednesday on amendments regarding captive wildlife rules, which will take effect July 1, 2010. Capt. John West of the FWC's Captive Wildlife section led the final public hearing on rule changes proposed at the Commission meeting in February.

When the new rules take effect, all shipments of live wildlife that are sent interstate or intrastate commerce will have to be labeled with the complete name and address of the sender and receiver, as well as the numbers and species of animals contained in the shipment.

Another aspect of the changes is that licensees authorized to exhibit or sell Class III wildlife, who are considered to be "hobbyists," will no longer have to demonstrate sustained consistent commercial activity.

"This change allows 'hobbyists' to possess wildlife primarily for their personal enjoyment," West said. "But they can occasionally exhibit or sell their wildlife without having to demonstrate commercial activity."

A final aspect of the amendments allows County Emergency Managers to review the "Captive Wildlife Critical Incident/Disaster Plan" that possessors of Class I or Class II wildlife complete.

"This change addresses concerns of both the counties and the licensees," West said. "It will provide County Emergency Managers access to 'Part B' of the plan, while protecting licensees' sensitive facility information from becoming public record."

Several members of the public from the Humane Society of the United States and the Florida reptile industry spoke, applauding the FWC's efforts so far and encouraging rapid action on these issues.

Also discussed were changes regarding local commercial zoning and building codes. Over the past several months, FWC employees worked with representatives from the Florida Association of Counties, local government and other stakeholders on possible changes to county-related captive wildlife rules. Commissioners requested that staff continue working with counties on these issues. When the Commission meets again in September, it will address whether new licensees who possess Class I or Class II wildlife for commercial purposes must meet local commercial zoning and building codes.

More information about the FWC's captive wildlife regulations is available at; click on "Captive Wildlife."

FWC Facts:
In Florida, male black bears typically have home ranges of 50 to 120 square miles; female ranges generally are 10 to 25 square miles.

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