List issued in Malta of dangerous animals which cannot be bred, sold or kept in Malta
Owners of exotic and dangerous pets in Malta will have three months to register their animals with the authorities or pay a fine of up to €46,500, according to an upcoming legal notice. Pet owners who fail to comply with the new rules will face criminal proceedings that could lead to a fine of between €232 and €46,587 and even the confiscation of their animal by the authorities.
The draft legal notice, which has been seen by International Animal Rescue, is expected to be published shortly. It will fill a gap in local legislation. Prior to this, the law allowed more or less any animal to be imported, including dangerous species such as crocodiles and poisonous snakes.
The legal notice includes a comprehensive list of animals, dangerous and exotic, that cannot be imported and kept as pets. Any such animals that are already in the country will be exempt as long as the owners register them.
The law as it stands allows people to import and keep any type of animal as a pet as long as it is not protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). Several dangerous species are included in the CITES list but it is not sufficiently comprehensive to include many poisonous reptiles or insects, for example. Moreover, as was the case with a Bengal tiger cub, the convention does not cover animals that were born in captivity.
International Animal Rescue is now also in possession of the list of animals which cannot be bred, kept in stock, imported or sold in Malta because they are a potential threat to the safety of man or other animals . This list is to form part of the animal Welfare Act of Malta.
The species on the list are:
- All species of the order Scorpiones (scorpions) except those belonging to the species Euscorpius sicanus.
- Spiders belonging to the order Solifugae (camel spider), the species Atrax robustus (funnel web spider) and others that may be poisonous to the extent of killing a human being with their poison.
- All species of the orders Scutigeromorpha, Lithobiomorpha, Craterostigmomorpha, Scolopenromorpha and Geophilomorpha (centipedes) that may be poisonous to the extent of killing a human being with their poison except those belonging to the native species occurring in the Maltese natural habitat.
- All species of poisonous reptiles with specific reference to the Crotalids, Cobras, Mambas and Aspids.
- All species of the order Crocodilia (crocodiles and alligators) and Varanus komodensis (komodo dragon).
- All species of poisonous amphibians.
- All species of the order Dasyuro morphia (marsupial carnivores as the dasyurids, the tasmanian devil, thylacine, numbat, et al).
- All species of the order Pera mele morphia (bandicoots et al).
- All species of the family Nandiniidae (the African palm civet et al).
- All species of the family Felidae (felines) except those belonging to Felis catus domesticus.
- All species of the family Viverridae (civets et al) including all subspecies of the subfamily Prinonodontidae (the Asiatic linsangs et al).
- All species of the family Hyaenidae (hyenas et al).All species of the family Eupleridae. (Malagasy carnivores et al).
- All species of the family Herpestidae (mongooses et al).
- All species of the family Canidae (dogs and wolves) except those belonging to Canis lupus familiaris but not the Dingo.
- All species of the family Ursidae (bears et al).
- All species of the family Ailuridae (red panda et al).
- All species of the family Odobenidae (walruses et al.).
- All species of the family Otariidae (sea lions et al).
- All species of the family Phocidae (seals et al).
- All species of the family Rhinocerotidae (rhinos).
- All species of the family Hippopotamidae (hippos).
- All species of the family Proboscinae (elephants).
- All species of the order Cetacea (cetaceans).
- All species of the family Hylobatidae (gibbons et al).
- All species of the family Hominidae or Ponginae, (great apes including gorillas, chimpanzees and orangutans et al) except those belonging to Homo sapiens.
- All species of the genus Popio (baboons et al).
- All species of the genus Mandrillus (mandrills et al).
This list does not apply to holdings that are licensed in accordance with LN 265 of 2003, The Keeping of Wild Animals in Zoos Regulations 2003 or to holdings that are licensed to specifically breed and produce any of the animals in the list above for repopulation purposes or other, as well as circuses licensed in their country of origin or animals used during film productions.
This notice shall enter into force 90 days from its date of publication.
Max Farrugia, the chairman of International Animal Rescue in Malta, said that this is a step foward in the protection of wild species which are imported both legally and illegally into Malta. IAR hopes that the next step will be an adequate national centre where confiscated animals can be kept and cared for.