There is a perception that an animal that is abundant in an area may be looked upon as an easy animal to keep. eg Physignathus lesueuri These animal are plentiful and cheap to buy giving people a false idea that they are easy to look after. Mostly they should be kept outdoors at least from 3 years of age if not earlier. Beginner keepers buying these animals for $40 do not realise the outlay they need to have should consist of an outdoor aviary with a pond, biological filter etc making them quite an expensive animal to properly care for.
I believe there is great value in the private keeping of reptiles. Many keepers have excellent records, experience and knowledge. I was concerned in earlier draft recommendations that venomous reptile keeping may only be allowed for people with exhibitor or catch and release licences or a commercial interest. After attending the public information session at Penrith, I was very pleased to hear that this recommendation would not be adopted. Private reptile keeping should not be elitist so the cost of licensing or any other system needs to not be cost prohibitive.
Ecologically Sustainable Development
- Is it reasonable to increase the price of species credits where the species is endangered or critically endangered?
I believe the system currently in NSW for private reptile keeping is not too bad. It is good that there is a system that limits what you can own as a venomous reptile keeper until you can prove experience and it takes time to move up; R3-R5. However at the beginner end of the scale, no knowledge is required and this is not good. There is legislation out there but what makes a prospective reptile keeper read the code of practice for private reptile keepers? (even this has its faults but it is better than nothing) Nothing - they can virtually pay a fee and subject a poor reptile to a short life of misery. Any serious reptile keeper that has been engaged in the practice for years can cite many cases of negligence from inexperienced keepers that may come to them for advice when it is too late. It seems that as reptile keeping grows, the manning of the system has not kept up. Export and import licence take quite a while to get - too long so perhaps there is something that can be reduced in this space. I do not believe that pet shops should be selling reptiles. The right advice is not always given. The species allowed to to be sold in a pet shop should not increase. I think that venomous reptile keeping should be authorised by a licence - similar to current. Current class one animals could be authorised by code as long as the potential owner has read the code. Maybe a multiple choice type questionnaire needs to be filled out prior to any reptile ownership proving that a respective owner at least understands the basics.
- Should the calculator produce a fixed price in all circumstances or could there be some situations where it would be appropriate to allow a proponent to negotiate a price with the Trust?
Exotic reptiles are in NSW. I have heard that there are colonies of corn snakes breeding in areas such as St Marys. This is because so many of them have been dumped. There is nowhere to turn with an exotic reptile as once it is handed in, it gets euthanised. People, thinking it is preferable to death, let these creatures go. It would be better to provide an amnesty and licence these animals. Licenced keepers are not going to dump animals into the wild. There would be no further risk to our wildlife as these animals are already here.
- Should the Trust be able to set and update all aspects of the calculator? Are there any components that should be set and updated by the Minister or another party?
Richmond Tafe runs a few basic reptile keeping courses as well as the occasional venomous course - they used to anyway. There are a few private individuals running venomous handling courses but these are not regular and are dependent on numbers. So not a lot of courses in Sydney let alone NSW. Maybe an online course needs to be developed as a pre requisite for new keepers. If you are getting rid of licensing for class one, the fee they would have paid can be used for this course.
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