Duncan Barry speaks to the co-founders of the Malta Herpetological Society, Arnold Sciberras and Chris McGowan, who have expressed concerns over the lack of specialised knowledge of some owners and in the private business sector in the upkeep and trading of exotic animals imported to Malta. In a bid to raise awareness, the society’s representatives have embarked on a campaign to protect the health of exotic animals, maintain public safety and the country’s ecological integrity.
The Malta Herpetological Society – founded this year to promote the scientific study and conservation of local wild herpetofauna and education for the responsible ownership of herps and related animals – expressed concerns over the “responsible” ownership of exotic animals imported to Malta, pointing out that the upkeep and trading of exotic animals entails much more than one may think.
According to the society, those seeking these unusual animals cannot ignore the threats these animals may face as a result of poor knowledge.
Mr Sciberras and Mr McGowan said one of the society’s main concerns is that exotic animals being imported to Malta are in some rare instances being released into Maltese wildlife, ending up alien to the environment, the result: a negative effect on local biodiversity and greatly decreasing the animal’s chances of survival.
The two also said that some of those owning or trading in reptiles or amphibians don’t always have the proper knowledge on how to treat such animals while more awareness needed to be raised among the public in general to highlight that reptiles don’t necessarily pose a risk to humans. More....