A press-briefing has been held to share information with public media about the joint operation being carried out to tackle the rise in presence of exotic animals in the Maldives.
The briefing was held at the Multipurpose Hall of the Iskandar Building at about 1500 hours on the 12th of April and was headed by the Head of the Criminal Investigation Department, Superintendent of Police, Ahmed Azhan. He was joined by representatives from the Maldives Customs Service, the Ministry of Environment and Energy and the Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture.
The Superintendent spoke at the briefing, stating that exotic and/or dangerous animals have been located during various operations carried out by the Maldives Police Service and that such animals needed to be taken in as a preventive measure before any harm was caused to the public or to the environment.
He went on to state that this was the reason for the currently ongoing operation which seeks to locate and take in such animals so that the legality of their presence in the country can be assessed.
He then stated that several houses were checked that morning and that the searches revealed snakes, rats, squirrels, iguanas and other exotic animals being kept illegally without proper documentation or screening.
The Police are being aided by technical staff and a veterinarian active with the Environment Ministry the operation is being carried out according to their advice and instructions.
The representative of the Environment Ministry stated that there were several, environmentally viable options for animals to be kept as pets but that there was an increase in dangerous and endangered animals in the Maldives.
He also stated that since there was a lack of medicine or rescue centers available locally, such alien species pose a threat to the public and to the delicate balance of the ecosystem.
It is worth noting that at present, some owners of exotic animals have taken to releasing them onto the streets, so as to not be implicated.
The public is urged to be on alert for such animals and the threat they pose.
The Maldives Police Service urges any individuals with information regarding exotic animals to report it in via the number 3322111, the emergency number 119 or 9631696.