In an effort to prevent the spread of invasive species in the Florida wild, state wildlife officials will host an exotic pet amnesty day on Saturday, allowing pet-owners to bring their snakes, fish, lizards and birds to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, no questions asked. FWC organizers hope the event will deter exotic pet-owners from releasing animals they no longer want (or for whom they can no longer care) into the state's wetlands, where species like the Burmese python and lionfish are threatening native animals.
"It's geared toward anyone with an exotic pet that they can't care for now," Liz Barraco, FWC's amnesty day coordinator, said in a statement. "Generally, we see animals that are really easy for people to purchase."
Exotic pet owners can contact FWC to surrender their animals throughout the year, but amnesty days are intended to speed up the process of finding new homes for wildlife. At this week's FWC event, adoptions have been pre-arranged for the animals, who will also have the opportunity to receive veterinary care. Officials help to adopt at least 50 exotic animals at the amnesty event.