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Time For Ban On Imported Turtles

Media Release
8 November 2004

Time For Ban On Imported Turtles

It’s time the Conservation Minister banned the sale of potentially dangerous exotic species such as red-eared slider turtles says New Zealand First conservation spokesperson, Edwin Perry.

“Considering the problems we already have in this country with imported pests, it beggars belief that a species which is banned in Australia, England and Europe is still being sold in pet shops in this country.

“The answer to a question to the Minister about what action DoC was taking to control the spread of exotic reptiles and amphibians such as red-eared slider turtles was hardly reassuring,” said Mr Perry.

“DoC is undertaking risk assessments for the 19 exotic reptiles and amphibians known to be present in New Zealand. I quote ‘Once the risk assessments have been completed and peer reviewed, the department will consider which of which of the species pose the greatest threats to indigenous flora and fauna and what management/legal options might be appropriate to mitigate these’.

“While this paper shuffling process is taking place red-eared slider turtles may be quietly establishing themselves and joining the list of imported species which prey on our wildlife.

“Never mind risk assessments and peer reviews. If the Biosecurity Act can be invoked to prevent the importation of possible pests into the country the Minister should get on with it,” said Mr Perry.

ENDS

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