What is an invasive alien species?
The Law 42/2007, of December 13, on Natural Heritage and Biodiversity, defines an Invasive Alien Species (IAS) as “one that is introduced or established in a natural or semi-natural ecosystem or habitat and is an agent of change and a threat to native biological diversity, either due to its invasive behavior or the risk of genetic contamination.”
2. Which species have recently been added to the Spanish catalog of invasive alien species?
The Spanish catalog of invasive alien species has recently been modified by Royal Decree 216/2019, of March 29, which added new species to the catalog that have become popular as pets among citizens. These newly added species include:
Savannah monitor (Varanus exanthematicus).
Royal python (Python regius).
Peninsula turtle native to Florida (Trachemys scripta).
Vietnamese pig (Sus scrofa var. domestica VIETNAMESE breed).
3. What happens if I have an invasive alien species?
For all species included in the Spanish catalog of invasive alien species, it is prohibited to trade, transport, reproduce, transfer, possess, or introduce them into the natural environment.
However, if an individual acquired the specimen BEFORE its inclusion in the catalog (before August 4, 2013, for most cataloged species, or before March 31, 2019, for the 4 recently added ones), it can be kept as a pet but cannot be transferred, traded, or bred, and the relevant regional authorities must be informed of its possession.
For the Vietnamese pig, in particular, the law requires that it must be neutered or spayed.
4. Where should I go for more information?
Owners who want to keep these species as pets must inform the competent authorities of the autonomous communities before January 1, 2022.
In the Valencian Community, the competent authority is the Wildlife Service of the Directorate General for Natural Environment and Environmental Assessment of the Department of Agriculture, Rural Development, Climate Emergency, and Ecological Transition.
You can find the form to declare the ownership of an exotic animal as a pet on the Conselleria’s website, along with all the necessary information.
5. What if I can’t or don’t want to keep my invasive alien species pet?
In this case, the authorities will facilitate the voluntary surrender of the referred animals.
In our community, the surrender will take place at the Wildlife Recovery Centers:
Wildlife Recovery Center “La Granja de El Saler” (Valencia).
Wildlife Recovery Center “Santa Faz” (Alicante).
For more information, you can contact the Wildlife Service of the Directorate General for Natural Environment and Environmental Assessment of the Department of Agriculture, Rural Development, Climate Emergency, and Ecological Transition. Phone: 012.