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Overwhelming Support For Ban On Ferrets As Pets

Pet ferrets should be banned, according to the vast majority of respondents to DoC’s public discussion document on ferret control.

Forest and Bird’s Biosecurity Awareness Officer, Karli Thomas, said ferrets are the largest of the three mustelid species present in New Zealand, and are predators of ground-dwelling native bird species including kiwi, weka, dotterels and penguins.

“Conservationists, farmers, regional councils and the general public were united in their concern over the environmental and economic damage escaped pet ferrets can cause.” Over one thousand submissions were received on the discussion document.

“About 77% percent of all submissions received from individual respondents requested a total ban on the keeping of ferrets by anyone in New Zealand, a view supported by Forest and Bird.”

Ms Thomas said that a ban on keeping ferrets is necessary because of the high risk of ferrets being released or escaping into the wild. In Northland, ferret numbers increased dramatically in the 1980’s due to the release of animals following the collapse of the ferret farming industry. “The wild descendants of those ferrets are now killing Northland’s threatened kiwi.”

“The future of our native species should not be placed in jeopardy by people who considered it their right to keep noxious pests as pets.”

Forest and Bird recommended a ban on the keeping of ferrets be introduced immediately, but with a sunset clause allowing owners of existing pet ferrets to retain them for up to five years provided they are neutered.

“Forest and Bird is now urging the Minister of Conservation to heed public concern, and ban the keeping of ferrets in New Zealand.”

…… ends

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