Thursday, June 1, 2023

The Revised Designated Invasive Alien Species Act

A new law goes into effect in Japan today - The Revised Designated Invasive Alien Species Law.  This law regulates the importing and sales of the red swamp crayfish and the red-eared slider turtles, and prohibits the release of these animals into the wild. The government has designated them as invasive alien species which have a negative impact on the ecosystem. The two species are originally from North America and highly fertile, harming the environment by outcompeting native species.

Many people in Japan keep these animals as pets. It is estimated that 5.4 million of the crayfish and 1.6 million of the turtles are kept as pets in Japan. In the past I have seen turtles sold at festivals. No more! 

People can continue to keep their current pets, but not release them. If individuals do release them, including cases where the pets escape, the pet owners face up to three years in prison, or a fine of up to three million yen. Corporate bodies face a fine of up to 100 million yen for releasing these animals. This is serious. 

Red swamp crayfish live four to five years and red eared slider turtles live 20 to 40 years. If individuals become unable to keep them, they need to find someone else to take care of them. Selling them is prohibited, but giving them to new owners for free will be allowed. One of my students told me that IZoo, the reptile zoo in Izu, Shizuoka, will accept these turtles from individuals who can no longer keep them. (I have not personally verified this.) 

Do you have either of these creatures as pets? Are there any laws or regulations about them where you live?


Queeniepatch said...

I have little knowledge about unusual pets. I hope people see reason and stop smuggling and trading in these animals.

Toki said...

This issue become a topic because it would destroy the original ecosystem.
So I think it's a good bill.

Leonore Winterer said...

There is a 'wild' colony of these turtles near where I live. I don't think releasing them is legal here, but probably not quite as strictly regulated and punished either!