Maricia loves her Japanese squirrels, so she fights the ban

1/3 Maricia and her Japanese squirrel.

More and more people see popular YouTubers showing off exotic pets and decide to get one. From next year, the cabinet will regulate the keeping of various animals, including deer camps. The Platform Responsible Pet Ownership Foundation disagrees and is going to court. Marysia Zolik, a chairwoman from Lyth, explains why.

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Think of the serval, a feline predator from Africa that can grow up to a meter long. Also cool: the sugar glider, a marsupial from Australia that can make gliding planes. Or the degu, a rodent from Chile related to the guinea pig.

The government wants to prevent the spread of disease in livestock and improve animal welfare. That’s why people will soon be allowed to keep only animals on the pet and hobby animal list. Camels, llamas and water buffalo are still allowed, but trade in roosters, sugar gliders, porcupines and meerkats is prohibited. No deer camping is allowed anymore.

“Squirrels have a special place in my heart.”

The Platform Responsible Pet Ownership Foundation disagrees and is going to court. Maricia Solick, from Lyth, is chair of the trust and has an aviary with Japanese squirrels at home.

“Squirrels have a special place in my heart. I came from Poland, walked to school, and then came through a forest, where I saw squirrels, they gave me a wonderful feeling, a fairy tale. Now that I have them, I got that feeling back. They I find that very inspiring. They’re always busy and moving, always busy. Just like me.”

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Maricia must keep the Japanese squirrels until they die. But they are not allowed to breed if they are in the cabinet.

The trust challenges the strict rules: “We will focus on deer parks first and then start the procedure for squirrels. Ultimately, we want to make sure that you can legally own all animals again, but then according to the regulations.”

According to Maricia, it doesn’t make sense to ban exotic pets, people keep them as a secret. “The breeding of squirrels is banned in Belgium and France, but there is a lot of interest in those countries. So it’s good to see how the animals can be cared for responsibly. That’s why we want to come up with a guide that explains how to keep these animals responsibly and safely.

Evelyn Peek with Savannah Cat.
Evelyn Peek with Savannah Cat.

Evelyn Peake from Fijnard owns a rooster and breeds Savannahs, which are somewhere between a rooster and a domestic cat. “I would argue for a permit so that breeders and enthusiasts who know about it can have a service. Now you see people buying a serval because they get attention, but there is a lot involved in taking good care of these beautiful animals.

Evelyn explains why she loves the rooster so much. “They’re cute and they love playing with you. They’re very affectionate and smart. They can open your door. They can pick up and play, which is really special.”

“Services can see game animals and young children as prey.”

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