Our mission: To protect and enhance the quality of life for domestic, farm and wild animals in B.C.

The BC Ministry of Environment introduced new regulations to the Wildlife Act on March 17, 2009 which legally designate over 1,000 non-native species, previously unregulated, as "Controlled Alien Species".

These species can no longer be brought, sold, bred or kept in B.C. for private ownership. Although the list is not as extensive as the recommendations from the BC SPCA, as it was based solely on potential public safety issues and not animal welfare or environmental concerns, the regulation will lead to the phasing out of private possession of such exotic animals as tigers, lions, caimans, and primates in B.C.

Individuals that had one of these animals before March 16, 2009 will have to apply for a permit and comply with care standards in order to keep the animal for the rest of its life. If you own an exotic animal, please visit our FAQ page for more information.


Which exotic animals are prohibited in B.C.?

The following is a list of species that individuals are prohibited from possessing or breeding unless the animal was in B.C. prior to March 16, 2009.  


  • Order Primate (e.g. monkeys, gorillas and chimpanzees) except humans

  • Order Proboscidea (e.g. elephants)

  • Family Canidae (e.g. fennec foxes, dingos, jackals and raccoon-dogs) except Canis lupus familiarus (domestic dog); other species are restricted under the Wildlife Act include Alopex lagopus (arctic fox), Canis latrans (native coyote species), Canis lupus (native wolf species), Urocyon cinereoargenteus (grey fox), Vulpes macrotis (kit fox), Vulpes vulpes (red fox)

  • Family Giraffidae (e.g. giraffes)

  • Family Hippopotamidae (e.g. hippopotami)

  • Family Hyaenidae (e.g. hyenas and aardwolves)

  • Family Rhinocerotidae (e.g. rhinoceroses]

  • Family Ursidae except: Ursus americanus (black bear), Ursus arctos (grizzly bear)

  • Sub-family Pantherinae (e.g. lions, tigers and panthers)

  • Species Acinonyx jubatus (cheetah)

  • Species Bos frontalis (gaur)

  • Species Lynx lynx (Eurasian lynx)

  • Species Lynx pardinus (Iberian lynx)

  • Species Syncerus caffer (African buffalo)



  • Genus Casuarius (cassowaries)



  • Species Phyllobates aurotaenia (kokoe poison arrow frog

  • Species Phyllobates bicolour (two-toned poison arrow frog)

  • Species Phyllobates terribilis (golden poison arrow frog)



  • Order Crocodilia (e.g. alligators, crocodiles and caimans)

  • Family Crotalidae (e.g. pit vipers) except Crotalus oreganus (western rattlesnake)

  • Family Elapidae (e.g. death adders, cobras, kraits and mambas)

  • Family Helodermatidae (e.g. gila monsters and beaded lizards)

  • Family Viperidae (e.g. true vipers)

  • Sub-family Aparallactinae (e.g. mole vipers)

  • Sub-family Boiginae (e.g. brown tree snake)

  • Sub-family Hydrophiinae (e.g. sea snakes)

  • Sub-family Philodryas (e.g. green racers)

  • Genus Dispholidus (e.g. boomslang snakes)

  • Genus Thelotornis (e.g. twig snakes)

  • All species of the Family Varanidae that can grow to be more than 2 metres in length when measured from the front of the snout to the tip of tail (e.g. Komodo dragons, crocodile monitors and water monitors)

  • Only the following species within the family Boidae and Pythonidae are considered "Prohibited" Controlled Alien Species: 

    • Boidae

      • All species of anaconda (Eunectes spp.)

      • Cuban boa (Epicrates angulifer)

    • Pythonidae

      • Amethystine python (Morelia amethistina)

      • Boelen's python (Morelia boeleni)

      • Seram scrub python (Morelia clastolepis)

      • Australian scrub python (Morelia kinghorni)

      • Oenpelli python (Morelia oenpelliensis)

      • Indian and Burmese pythons (Python molurus)

      • Southern African rock python (Python natalensis)

      • Reticulated python (Python reticulatus)

      • African rock python (Python sebae)


Which exotic animals are restricted in B.C.?

The following species of Boidae and Pythonidae are considered "Restricted" Controlled Alien Species. "Restricted" Controlled Alien Species cannot be released under any circumstances, but can be bred, transported or possessed without a permit if they are less than three metres from the tip of tail to the end of the snout. Once any individual snake listed below gets bigger than three metres, a permit must be applied for possession and transportation of the species individual.


  • Madagascan ground boa (Acrantophis madagascariensis)

  • Boa constrictor (Boa constrictor)


  • Papuan python (Apodora papuana)

  • Black-headed python (Aspidites melanocephalus)

  • Woma (Aspidites ramsayi)

  • Australian brown python (Liasis fuscus)

  • Water python (Liasis mackloti)

  • Australian olive python (Liasis olivaceus)

  • Carpet python (Morelia spilota)


Additional resources 

Visit the BC Ministry of Environment's website on Controlled Alien Species for questions about current private owners, breeders, zoos, and the film industry.


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