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Non-native plants and animals are easily spread when they are accidentally or intentionally released into the wild. Many released species do not have the necessary skills to survive in the wild and often suffer before death. However, if they do survive, these species can become invasive, outcompeting native species for valuable resources such as food and space.
Invasive species that are commonly released include: domestic pets, garden or aquarium plants, fish, live bait, and livestock.
You can start by only purchasing native plants for your aquariums and gardens. Another approach is to properly dispose of plants, and rehome pets rather than releasing them in the wild. In the wild the chance of survival for your pet is very slim, it is better to rehome your pet to prevent the spread of invasive species and to ensure the health and safety of the animal. If you want to learn how to dispose of invasive plants or need help rehoming your pet, check out Habitattitude or SPCA.
If it is a pet or other animal, if it is in your pond or aquarium or garden, if it is a fish, do not let it loose in the wild. It is as simple as that.
The Nova Scotia Invasive Species Council (NSISC) is working together with the Canadian Council on Invasive Species (CCIS) to recognize retailers through the Don’t Let it Loose take-action initiatives being implemented across Canada by pet-trade organizations. This program is designed to increase awareness and promote Canadians to take action to stop the spread of invasive species. Through the Retailer Recognition program, pet, pond and aquarium retailers will be provided resources on preventing the spread of invasive species to their employees and customers. In addition, they will be acknowledged for their efforts to protect ecosystems and communities across Canada.
To sign up to be a recognized retailer and read more about the Don’t Let It Loose program, please check out the CCIS website HERE.