Owning native wildlife as a pet is seen as 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 Resource Protection and Management acting program manager Leigh Murray said.
‘‘Our wildlife officers have received a spike in the number of complaints concerning the possession of wildlife without appropriate licences.
‘‘We are following up on these, including people allowing their licences to expire without renewing them and people obtaining wildlife from illegal avenues.’’
In recent cases, two Wangaratta residents were fined $600 each and convicted in relation to the possession of a Carpet Python without a Basic Wildlife Licence, while a Tatura man was fined and convicted 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,’’ Mr Murray said.
‘‘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.
‘‘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.