Protect wild, exotic animals in captivity: Petition

Wild, exotic animals suffer in captivity

Zoos and aquariums cannot replicate the size and complexity of a wild animal’s natural habitat. Captive wildlife are also unable to engage in many natural behaviours that are crucial to their physical, social and psychological well-being. Captive exotic animals are often kept in climates that are not suitable for their species.  

According to a recent poll,89% of British Columbians oppose the international trade of exotic animals (wild animals not native to B.C.) to be kept on display in permanent captivity in zoos and aquariums.

By signing the petition, you call on the B.C. government to:

  • Expand the Controlled Alien Species regulation criteria to include animal welfare considerations and update the CAS list to include and prohibit the keeping, breeding and transporting of all exotic species for permanent captivity;
  • Adopt a positive list approach, which allows only those species that meet certain evidence-based suitability criteria to be kept, bred and transported.
  • No longer allow permits to be issued for the keeping, breeding and transporting of exotic animal species, including for zoos and aquariums, film and tv industry, and research and education institutions;
  • Relocate to more appropriate facilities, animals whose physical, psychological and/or social needs are not being adequately met in captivity and/or those who are not appropriate for B.C.’s climate.
  • If no suitable alternatives exist, allow exotic species currently kept in captivity to remain, but prohibit captive breeding of exotic species.
  • Restrict captive breeding of native wildlife, unless it is part of a reintroduction program into the wild.
  • Maintain records for all individual wild and exotic captive animals in facilities, including information related to origin, import/export, breeding, births, deaths, and transport history.
  • Require emergency management plans for all wild and/or exotic animals in captivity.

Call for changes to wild & exotic animal captivity rules in B.C.

VHS has delivered a letter outlining our recommendations and has requested a meeting with the Minister. We will keep Ministry decision-makers updated on the total number of public signatures in support of the campaign.

*The petition form will only accept Canadian postal codes. If you reside outside of Canada, you can send a message directly to the Minister at


VHS has been closely observing the status of animals at the Greater Vancouver Zoo and the Vancouver Aquarium. Investigation of both facilities revealed animals in small, barren enclosures and animals exhibiting abnormal behaviours. We have reported this footage to the BC SPCA and a cruelty investigation has been opened.

View the full footage reported to the BC SPCA.

Learn more about exotic, wild animal captivity and help raise awareness

Scroll through the infographics below to learn more about the issues facing captive wild animals. Click the images to save and share them on social media, or scroll down the page for key messages to share on Twitter.

Wild, exotic animals have no place in B.C. zoos. I support @vanhumane’s suggested restrictions to animal captivity.
I signed the petition to protect wild, exotic animals from suffering in captivity! Will you join me?
B.C.’s Controlled Alien Species regulation has not been updated since 2009 and is overdue for an update. Sign the petition to call for changes!

B.C.’s outdated regulations

There are loopholes in the law when it comes to keeping exotic animals. While B.C. has regulations related to the possession, transportation and breeding of exotic animals (wild animals not native to B.C.), the “Controlled Alien Species” (CAS) regulation prohibits only species that pose the greatest threat to public health and safety and does not consider animal welfare or a species’ suitability for captivity. This leaves out many exotic species, such as kangaroos and zebras, who are not subject to the CAS regulation.

The international trade of animals also increases the risk of disease spread. One in four emerging diseases is zoonotic; many of the most serious illnesses of our lifetimes have originated in animals, including COVID-19.

In B.C., zoos and aquariums, industries using animals for research, and the TV and film industry can get permits to keep dangerous exotic animals through provincial laws regulating the trade of exotic animals. These Controlled Alien Species permits lead to frequent trade of exotic animals and end up resulting in at best, boredom and repetitive behaviours, and at worst, physical suffering and early death.

The province has not significantly updated the CAS regulation since its passing in 2009 and it is overdue for an update.