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  • US Fish & Wildlife Press Release

    US Fish & Wildlife Press Release
    US Fish & Wildlife Service announced today that they want to initiate the process of 'Rule Change' to add the Burmese Python and 8 other large constrictors (as per USGS report) to the Injurious Wildlife list of the Lacey Act. They announced that they would publish this proposal in the Federal Register in early February. There will then be 60 days for the public to make comment.
    This is an opportunity for the scientific process to play out. We have asked for science to trump political expediency. We have a team of scientists working on the science side and we have compiled much economic data in our work with the Congressional Budget Office. USARK will conduct a number of surveys around the country and on the Internet to collect vital information to provide to USFWS. We will have surveys at the door at the Tinley Park USARK/ PIJAC Summit meeting on February 13 & 14. It is incredibly important that everyone participate in the surveys in order that we can present the best information possible. We will also have petitions to be signed! Please come to the Summit. This will be the most important meeting in the history of the reptile industry. Every real player in this industry, as well as hobbyists, and the general public, need to attend the USARK/ PIJAC Summit. If you are a USARK Gold or Silver member please try to be there!


    Date: January 20, 2009
    Contact: Vanessa Kauffman (FWS) (703) 358-2138
    Kendra Barkoff (DOI) (202) 713-0827
    Salazar Moves to Ban Importation and Interstate Transfer of Burmese Python and Eight Other Giant Invasive Snakes
    FWS to Propose Injurious Species Listingunder Lacey Act
    NEW YORK, NY – Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today announced the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will propose to list the Burmese python and eight other large constrictor snakes that threaten the Everglades and other sensitive ecosystems as “injurious wildlife” under the Lacey Act.

    Salazar made the announcement at the Port of New York, which serves as the largest point of entry in the nation for imports of wildlife and wildlife products. Last year, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Inspectors at John F. Kennedy International Airport handled more than 27, 000 separate wildlife shipments valued at more than $1 billion, or 16 percent of all U.S. wildlife imports.

    The proposal, which will be open to public comment before Salazar makes a final decision, would prohibit importation and interstate transportation of the animals.

    “The Burmese python and these other alien snakes are destroying some of our nation’s most treasured – and most fragile – ecosystems,” Salazar said. “The Interior Department and states such as Florida are taking swift and common sense action to control and eliminate the populations of these snakes, but it is an uphill battle in ecosystems where they have no natural predators. If we are going to succeed, we must shut down the importation of the snakes and end the interstate commerce and transportation of them.”

    In total, wildlife inspectors stationed at ports across the nation processed more than 169,700 shipments of wildlife and wildlife products last year with an estimated value of $2.7 billion.

    “Our wildlife inspectors are the front line of defense for the nation, combating illegal wildlife trafficking and preventing the importation of countless species of illegal injurious wildlife. This proposal will give them an additional tool to restrict imports that are causing significant ecological and economic damage, while giving our law enforcement agents the ability to restrict the spread of these species within our borders,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Sam Hamilton.

    The nine species proposed for listing are: the Burmese python, northern African python, southern African python, reticulated python, green anaconda, yellow anaconda, Beni or Bolivian anaconda, DeSchauensee’s anaconda, and boa constrictor.

    Many of these large snakes are popular as pets, and are associated with a large domestic and international trade. Over the past 30 years, about a million individuals of these nine species have been imported into the United States, and current domestic production of some species likely exceeds import levels.

    Under the Lacey Act, the Secretary of the Interior is authorized to regulate the importation and interstate transport of species determined to be injurious to humans, the interests of agriculture, horticulture or forestry, and the welfare and survival of wildlife resources of the United States.

    Sen. Bill Nelson, D-FL and Rep. Kendrick Meek, D-FL, have introduced legislation in Congress, supported by Secretary Salazar and the Obama Administration, which would also restrict importation and interstate sale and transportation of the nine species of constrictor snakes. Today’s proposal ensures that the injurious proposal will be considered through all available legislative and administrative avenues.

    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will publish the proposed rule in the Federal Register in early February. At that time, the Service will also make a draft economic analysis and draft environmental analysis available to the public. The public will then have 60 days to comment on the proposal.

    The Burmese python is currently distributed across many thousands of square miles in south Florida and a population of boa constrictors is established south of Miami. In addition, recent evidence strongly suggests a reproducing population of northern African pythons on the western boundaries of Miami.

    The U.S. Geological Survey issued a risk assessment last October that highlighted the threat.
    Of the nine large constrictors assessed, five were shown to pose a high risk to the health of the ecosystem, including the Burmese python, northern African python, southern African python, yellow anaconda, and boa constrictor. The remaining four large constrictors—the reticulated python, green anaconda, Beni or Bolivian anaconda, and DeSchauensee’s anaconda—were shown to pose a medium risk.

    Burmese pythons and other large constrictor snakes are highly adaptable to new environments
    And are opportunistic in expanding their geographic range. More than 1,200 of the snakes have been removed from Everglades National Park since 2000, with others having been removed from the Florida Keys, along Florida’s west coast, and farther north along the Florida peninsula. Burmese pythons threaten many imperiled species and other wildlife. Two Burmese pythons were found near Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge, and the remains of three endangered Key Largo wood rats were found in their stomachs.

    Salazar strongly encouraged pet owners not to release snakes or any other pets into the wild.

    “People may think that this is a convenient and humane way to be rid of unwanted animals, but as in the case of pythons and other constrictors, it can lead to devastating consequences for local wildlife populations and the ecosystems they depend on,” Salazar said.

    Salazar said he has directed the Fish and Wildlife Service to conduct a comprehensive review of existing legal and regulatory authorities to address the invasive species issue on a broader scale.

    “I’ve asked the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to make recommendations regarding the potential tools we need to address the invasive species challenge – both to combat existing invasive species problems and act more effectively to prevent the introduction of new invasive threats into our country,” said Salazar.
    For questions and comments, please email
    [email protected]
    JOIN USARK! http://www.usark.org/join.php

  • #2
    Re: US Fish & Wildlife Press Release

    Notice the timing on this , the day are letters were set arrive on the senate floor.

    Lar M
    Boas By Klevitz

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    • #3
      Re: US Fish & Wildlife Press Release

      My question is what are we going to be able to do as a whole?
      And what will I be able to myself? Not being in the US now puts a great hinderance on what I personally can do. Is there a way to get the survey with out being there or online?

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: US Fish & Wildlife Press Release

        Originally posted by minguss View Post
        My question is what are we going to be able to do as a whole?
        And what will I be able to myself? Not being in the US now puts a great hinderance on what I personally can do. Is there a way to get the survey with out being there or online?

        Not certain I'll have to try to look into that for you.


        I just can't believe USF&W decided to move forward with this

        There must have been pressure from Salazar,

        and he is completely clueless

        only knows about the spoon fed garbage from Nelson !!

        Lar M
        Boas By Klevitz

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        • #5
          Re: US Fish & Wildlife Press Release

          They aren't going to give up folks... so neither can we.

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          • #6
            Re: US Fish & Wildlife Press Release

            If, and this is a BIG "IF", we can get Salazar to go into this with a even halfway open mind, I think this can only be good for us.

            We've been asking that this process (listing animals as "injurious") be followed as it's supposed to be. This is exactly how it's SUPPOSED to be. This isn't the political expediency we've been screaming about.

            This is a chance for the Reptile Nation to come forward and present its case. They'll have to review the economic data. They'll have to review the paper by Pyron. They'll have to listen to the independent panel of scientists who have criticized the USGS reports. They'll have to listen to the Chamber of Commerce letter. They'll have to listen to... everything.

            But, that doesn't mean they have to "hear" it.

            This is the best chance we have at shutting this all down. Fingers crossed everyone!

            jb

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            • #7
              Re: US Fish & Wildlife Press Release

              It says we will have another sixty days to make comments as members of the public.

              The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will publish the proposed rule in the Federal Register in early February. At that time, the Service will also make a draft economic analysis and draft environmental analysis available to the public. The public will then have 60 days to comment on the proposal.

              Adam Wysocki posted :
              This essentially means that the USGS report will get a real review and that we can tell our Senators and Representatives that instead of supporting HR2881 & S373 they should let the Department of the Interior do the job that they are supposed to do.

              The regulatory process will work in our favor and there are all kinds of exceptions that could be made by DOI to allow the captive bred trade in these animals to continue.

              It's good news because this action will hopefully take the decision to ban these animals out of the hands of the politicians where there is no procedure for public comment, scientific debate, rebuttal of risk assessment, analysis of economic impacts, or any of the other rules required by the official listing process and gives the United States Fish and Wildlife service the authority to follow the regulatory process.

              The regulatory process in place for lacey act listing will give stakeholders an opportunity for serious discussion and scientific debate as well as the ability to offer alternatives to an outright ban.

              To put it simply, Politicians deciding our future is bad ... USFWS conducting a process designed to equally consider all factors and incorporate external input is good.

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              • #8
                Re: US Fish & Wildlife Press Release

                Originally posted by Jonathan Brady View Post
                If, and this is a BIG "IF", we can get Salazar to go into this with a even halfway open mind, ...... But, that doesn't mean they have to "hear" it.

                Exactly the problem here. It is great that is going through the proper channel. BUT I think the only reason this has actually even been considered is the political pressure ( more like oiling of hands ) from Neslon and HSUS. I do not think the timing is coincidental, I think it already planned, a one two punch so to speak. Our grass root movement has been increasing with each one of these animal ban legislations. The AR groups know now we are not got to sit back and let them or are senators and reps just bull doze our rights.

                I know I won't Quit the fight.

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                • #9
                  Re: US Fish & Wildlife Press Release

                  OK, so I'm curious. With the USF&W getting involved what's the status of S373? Is it dead n the water, on the back burner, still moving forward at full steam? Which takes priority in fighting this? Or do they both share equal priority?

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                  • #10
                    Re: US Fish & Wildlife Press Release

                    Can't know for certain right now , speculation is that its on the back burner .
                    S373 May not ever go anywhere. The scary thing is Salazar and what he's
                    pushing for combined with the serious problem at USF&WS

                    If you haven't read JB's response post in reference to the NatGeo piece by Dr. Susan Haseltine

                    USGS defends study that suggests U.S. climate may become accommodating to giant alien snakes- click here

                    Please read his post as well as the others some good stuff there

                    Jb's post explains the problem with USF&WS and how it affects us etc...

                    Lar M
                    Boas By Klevitz

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                    • #11
                      Re: US Fish & Wildlife Press Release

                      Thanks, Lar!

                      I'll give it a look over this evening.


                      The USF&W is leaving this open to public comment for 60 days... how do we contact them (.i.e - what's the best address to use)? Who do we contact? Salazar? Or someone else?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: US Fish & Wildlife Press Release

                        Originally posted by MLynch View Post
                        The USF&W is leaving this open to public comment for 60 days... how do we contact them (.i.e - what's the best address to use)? Who do we contact? Salazar? Or someone else?
                        i've HEARD (so don't quote me on it) that the approach to this situation will be a little different than with legislation.

                        i heard someone say it may actually be detrimental to FLOOD them with letters of opposition in this case. i'm sure USARK will be giving us a heads-up about how we should proceed, but from my understanding, this will be more focused on solid scientific evidence than public opinion. time will tell...

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                        • #13
                          Re: US Fish & Wildlife Press Release

                          I've been wondering this same thing , what is our , each individuals next step ?

                          I've been waiting for USARK to form a game plan, instead wait until a week before
                          something is supposed to happen and then expect people to spend $100
                          sending things in
                          I want to take action sooner rather then later if that is what we are going to do

                          Lar M
                          Boas By Klevitz

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                          • #14
                            Re: US Fish & Wildlife Press Release

                            The comment period hasn't opened yet so it's best to hold off on our efforts until the comment period.

                            And Chris is right, the USFWS is (supposedly) a scientific organization and not a political organization (I actually laughed out loud when I wrote that) so a heavy-pressure "political" campaign is likely to do nothing, or work against us.

                            We definitely need to be objective and factual.

                            My guess right now (and this could change based on info I read) is that letter writing will be somewhat unimportant in this campaign and only scientific information will be considered (like Pyron's paper). There probably will be a place for us to come together and provide information about how this will affect our industry from a financial standpoint (can't sell across state lines) as well as a practical standpoint (can't move with pets to a new state) so stay tuned for that.

                            I'd suggest taking a breather for a little while. It's what I've been doing Get some rest and rejuvinate yourself and get ready to provide some unbiased, emotionless information. Like I said, these guys are "scientists" (wow, I just can't allow myself to say that without using quotes, lol) so displays of emotion are not likely to help our cause. In fact, I hesitate to even call this a "fight".

                            Again, all of my opinions expressed above can certainly change with new info.

                            Trust that USARK will NOT let the opportunity for us to express our concerns about this scientific process pass us by.

                            jb

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                            • #15
                              Re: US Fish & Wildlife Press Release

                              It might be an idea to get a lot of people to slowly tear apart the USGS report with each person stating what the report said and the facts that do NOT support their claim and then state the facts that prove to anyone reading it the facts of what would be true and unquestionable in a unbiased scientific manner. Page by page tear the entire USGS report into nothing by pure true facts.

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