Birdwatching Canada

A voice for the northern birds

BC Bans Pet Bird

The provincial government of British Columbia recently announced a law prohibiting the ownership of exotic animals as pets. While their intent is to prevent injuries to people is laudable, their actual list of prohibited animals is laughable.

The list, not surprisingly, is heavily geared towards mammals (tigers, lions) and reptiles (venomous and constrictors). But there is apparently one bird species they feel is dangerous enough to make the list.

Yes, folks, I’m sorry to tell you but it is no longer legal to keep a pet cassowary in BC.

Southern Cassowary in New Guinea

Southern Cassowary in New Guinea

Cassowaries are shy, large, flightless birds from the deep forests of New Guinea and north eastern Australia. They are the third largest birds in the world, after ostriches and emus (that are not on the list). They stand up to 1.8 m (6 ft) tall, and weigh about 58.5 kg (129 lb).

All cassowaries have horn-like crests called casques on their heads, up to 18 cm (7″) long.  Could this be why they made the dreaded list? Danger to humans from head butting?

The one thing continually mentioned in literature about cassowaries is that their three-toed feet have sharp claws. The middle toe sports a dagger-like claw that is 125 millimetres (5″) long, which they use for defense.

Oh well then – reason enough to ban private ownership of these large birds. Never mind most people have no idea they exist. Or the fact that these endangered birds are found only in the jungles of southeast Asia.

So if you live in BC and have a hankering to keep a large, flightless bird as a pet, make sure you get the larger ostrich or emu instead. Wouldn’t want to bring the environmental police down on you.

If you really want to have a potentially dangerous pet though, don’t worry – it’s still legal to keep a pet grizzly bear. Go figure.


Filed under: Weird & Wonky

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