Taiwan to impose restrictions on cane toad owners

Owners of cane toads will face restrictions on breeding, sale and display of the amphibians, which will soon be listed in Taiwan as a foreign invasive species, the Forestry Bureau said Thursday.

The cane toad, which is native to the Americas, is a foreign species that poses a risk to the local environment, the safety of other animals, and the general public, the bureau said in a statement.

Since November, some 300 cane toads have been caught in Nantou County, central Taiwan, according to the bureau.

Cane toads are listed among 100 of the World's Worst Invasive Alien Species, because they "feed on almost any terrestrial animal and compete with native amphibians for food and breeding habitats," according to the Invasive Species Specialist Group, a global network of scientific and policy experts in that field.

Taiwan's Forestry Bureau said its restrictions on the breeding, sale and display of the species will take effect within 60 days, and owners will have to register their cane toads with the local authorities, in accordance with the Wildlife Conservation Act.

Failure to do so will result in a fine of NT$10,000-$50,000 (US$360.6-$1,802.8), the bureau said, citing the law.

Owners who want to get rid of their cane toads should take them to a local animal shelter or give them to authorities for disposal, the bureau said, warning that deserting an animal could lead to fine of NT$30,000-NT$150,000 against the owner, as it is a violation of the Animal Protection Act.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel