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New interpretation of old law means Virginia Aquarium can’t accept animals from out of state

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Posted at 8:45 PM, Oct 16, 2012
and last updated 2012-10-16 20:45:07-04

Virginia Beach, Va. - The Virginia Aquariums' river otters are especially playful. They're among the most popular critters at the aquarium and science center, often mugging for the camera and flirting with visitors.

But recently, when aquarium curators tried to accept an otter from an out-of-state facility, Virginia's game department blocked them.

 Aquarium directors say the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries is strictly interpreting an old law that prohibits selling or possessing wild animals.

That will affect more than the otters. Aquarium curators say this interpretation means they can't accept animals from other states, and they can't offer any of their animals to other aquariums.

So today the asked city council to push for a change in Richmond. They want their aquarium and other facilities like it, to be exempted from this law.

In other words, if a facility is accredited, it should be able to accept or transfer animals, without running afoul of wildlife laws.