Ferrets, owners say, are full of personality. But depending on where you live, state officials concerned about the effects of released ferrets on native species have banned ownership and lawbreakers risk up to three years in jail.
That's the penalty for ferret fans in the Aloha State, where the 3-pound members of the weasel and polecat family are banned amid concerns of the animals escaping and wreaking havoc on the islands' delicate ecosystems. Similar fears are behind a decades-old ban in California, which has one of the nation's most diverse ecosystems.
"The concern is that if these animals were released, like other non-native species have been, they would adapt and thrive and out-compete native species for food, and prey on native species," said Adrianna Shea, deputy director of California's Fish and Game Commission.
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