For owners of red-eared slider turtles (Trachemys scripta elegans), pet travel regulations regarding this turtle when entering the United Kingdom (UK) and the EU will be affected after the EU Commission published its new list of species of EU wide concern, as part of the Invasive Alien Species Regulation. This regulation was mandated into EU law on the January 1, 2015, came into practice in the UK and the EU on August 16, 2016.
In order to qualify for inclusion on the list, a species must be non-native to the country, have the ability to thrive in the environment and also pose a risk for the ecosystems that exist in the country.
This breed of turtle is included on the list of invasive species and owners must submit to additional regulations. An import license is also required for pet owners looking to import red eared slider turtles.
Owners of this species who reside in the UK can keep their turtle; however, it is illegal to import, breed, sell or rehome it. Also, it is very illegal to release it to the wild.
These regulations may pose a problem for owners of this turtle when they need to relocate. Because shelters and rescue organizations are subject to these regulations, they cannot rehome these turtles either, so surrender options may be difficult.
It remains to be seen how Brexit will affect the UK laws on invasive species and whether they will be adopted as they are written.