Controlled Alien Species

Exotic animals, such as alligators, monkeys and pythons, are known as controlled alien species in British Columbia. Controlled alien species are animal species that are not native to our province and are therefore not considered wildlife. The B.C. government regulates all interactions with controlled alien species to ensure public safety.

Historically, the Province did not regulate these animals. In 2009 the rules changed and designated more than 1,000 dangerous animals as controlled alien species because they pose a potential threat to people, property, wildlife and wildlife habitat.

Permit Applications

It is illegal for anyone in B.C. to possess, ship, transport or breed these controlled animals without a special permit. Apply for a controlled alien species possession permit:

Regulation 

Under the Wildlife Act, the Controlled Alien Species Regulation controls the possession, breeding, shipping and releasing of alien animals that pose a risk to the health or safety of people, property, wildlife or wildlife habitat.

The B.C. Government has the authority to designate certain animals as controlled alien species in order to regulate them. The designated species listed in Schedule 1 and Schedule 2 of the Controlled Alien Species Regulation pose a serious risk to public safety.

The Controlled Alien Species Regulation is a minimum standard across B.C. Anyone who is in possession of a controlled alien species must comply with the Regulation. Local government bylaws may be more restrictive than the provincial rules.

Possession

Anyone who possesses a controlled animal species is responsible for its wellbeing and for public safety. A permit is required to possess, breed, ship or transport any prohibited controlled alien species listed in Schedule 1 of the Controlled Alien Species Regulation.

Learn more about the controlled alien species ownership rules and permitting processes:

Enforcement

Provincial conservation officers and constables of the B.C. Conservation Officer Service have the authority to seize or destroy controlled alien species. Typically, this would occur where there are strong reasons to do so, such as cases where the animal presents an immediate threat to the health or safety of a person.

A conservation officer or constable may seize a controlled alien species if the person in possession of the animal:

  • Does not have a possession permit,
  • Contravenes any condition of their permit, or
  • Contravenes any aspect of the Controlled Alien Species Regulation

The penalties associated with breeding or releasing for a first-time offender are one of the following:

  • Fines ranging from $2,500 to a maximum of $250,000
  • A term of imprisonment not exceeding two years
  • Both a fine and a sentence

The penalties for possession without a permit for a first-time offender are one of the following:

  • Fines up to a maximum of $100,000
  • A term of imprisonment of one year
  • Both a fine and a sentence