Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks is seeking public comment from individuals concerned with the potential effects of importing exotic wildlife or who may be commercially or personally affected if the regulations on the import of exotic animals are strengthened.
The trend of possessing and trading "exotic" wildlife for personal and commercial uses has raised concerns about the potential impact of these nonnative species on Montana's native wildlife, plants, and agriculture and the possible human health issues. Exotic wildlife may be anything from a very unusual type of animal to a commonly known animal that is simply not native to the state.
"Many of the requests we're beginning to see are to import exotic wildlife species that are not prohibited or controlled under existing state regulations," said Tim Feldner, FWP commercial wildlife permit manager. "It may be the time to update our regulations to allow for an evaluation of the potential environmental impacts these species may cause prior to allowing their import."
The Montana Legislature asked FWP, and the Departments of Agriculture, Livestock and Public Health and Human Services to research and evaluate the effectiveness of Montana's exotic import laws and to report their findings to Governor Judy Martz and the 2003 Legislature.
Montana currently prohibits the import of species such as wild boar, javelina--a pig-like animal-- ruso deer, sika deer and other nonnative species that might be used in commercial, alternative livestock facilities. Animals such as bats, skunks and raccoons that could transmit rabies also cannot be transported into Montana from another state, under current law.
Comments may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or may be mailed to: Exotic Imports, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, P.O. Box 200701, Helena, MT 59620-0701.