UPDATE, 3/17: LDWF has worked out an agreement to allow the New Orleans couple to keep its pet nutria.
The owners have applied for a permit and LDWF has provided special conditions for the nutria to remain with his owners.
“I think this is a good conclusion for all sides,” said LDWF Sec. Jack Montoucet.
The matter is ongoing and details of the permit are being finalized, according to LDWF.
ORIGINAL, 3/16: LOUISIANA (KLFY) – A family’s pet nutria is set to be removed from a New Orleans home and will be moved to the Baton Rouge Zoo, according to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF).
LDWF said that the department recommended the nutria be removed after authorities discovered the existence of the pet after stories about the animal appeared in the New Orleans area media.
LDWF said that “it is illegal to have a wild animal as a pet, especially a nutria.”
The Baton Rouge Recreation and Park Commissions, which operates the Baton Rouge Zoo, has agreed to accept the animal, according to LDWF.
After arrangements were made, agents contacted the owners and told them the animal will be removed. LDWF also said that in most cases the animal would have been placed back in the wild, but because the animal has been habituated to humans, it would not be able to survive in the wild.
“It is against the law in Louisiana to possess injured or orphaned mammals without an LDWF Rehabilitation permit, even if there is a plan to release them. It is illegal to possess wildlife as a pet or for the pet trade. There is no permit for this activity and no permit will be issued for it,” LDWF said.
Zoo officials said in a statement that it “plans to take in the nutria into our animal family after a short stint at a rehabilitation facility…The nutria will join our Ambassador Animal Program.”
“The Zoo’s professional staff will care for the nutria as they would all other animals within their skilled care and looks forward to bringing a new member into the zoo animal family.”