May is Invasive Species Action Month! Many invasive species in the Fraser Valley are species that were sold as pets or aquarium plants. Releasing pets or aquarium plants into the wild, can have numerous severe economic, environmental, and human health impacts. Don’t let it loose! Releasing pets in nature is cruel, dangerous to the environment, and illegal. Released pets may starve and not survive, they may outcompete native and endangered species, and change ecosystem structures, and they may carry diseases and parasites which can be transmitted to other native species. Before purchasing a pet, choose it wisely! Consider how long it lives, and how big it will grow. If you want to get rid of a pet, don’t let it use!
Instead, you can:
1) Return it to the place of purchase
2) Rehome your pet
3) Dispose of aquatic plants properly
4) Be kind.
Some common invasive “pet” species in the Fraser Valley include the Red Eared Slider turtle, goldfish, and the American bullfrog. The Red-Eared Slider turtle is an invasive turtle found in BC that was introduced to British Columbia after pet owners released them into the wild. These turtles are a problem because they compete with native turtles for resources and carry diseases that harm endangered Western painted turtles.