ODWC takes a stance against invasive species by targeting a common pathway of introduction.
Releasing a pet into the wild is illegal, inhumane, and harmful to Oklahoma’s native fish and wildlife species. To combat the introduction of invasive species, the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation (ODWC) partnered with independent pet stores around the state to promote the "Don’t Let it Loose" message.
The goal of the campaign is to inform pet owners of the risks of releasing unwanted pets and offers resources for rehoming pets instead. The program is administered by Invasive Species Action Network, and with the help of the Wildlife Department, a network for rehoming unwanted pets has been developed.
“Pet stores and their staff are an important link in sharing information about responsible pet ownership and invasive species”, says Leah Elwell of Invasive Species Action Network. “The simplicity of the Don’t Let it Loose message makes it clear that releasing pets into the wild is not an option.” The Wildlife Department's Aquatic Nuisance Species (ANS) program is facilitating the program in Oklahoma and has contacted pet stores throughout the state.
“Providing the public with more resources helps them, their pets, and natural resources in Oklahoma. This is an effort we greatly appreciate,” said Katie Schrag, ANS coordinator for the Wildlife Department.
You can find the complete list of Oklahoma pet store partners here.
Interested pet store owners should contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call Invasive Species Action Network at (406) 222-7270.
To report an invasive species sighting in Oklahoma, contact ODWC at (918) 683-1031.