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SWEEPING BAN on salamander trade/transportation in effect this month

This is a discussion on SWEEPING BAN on salamander trade/transportation in effect this month within the Laws/Legality and Ethics forums, part of the Herpetological Science & Politics category; I completely understand why they are doing it. We definitely don't want to bring any diseases or deadly bacteria to ...

Laws/Legality and Ethics Discussion of the laws affecting herpetology around the world. Species legalities in different jurisdictions, import/export of animals, the legalities of species collection and the ethical considerations of all of the above.

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Old 13th January 2016   #41 (permalink)
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Default Re: SWEEPING BAN on salamander trade/transportation in effect this month

I completely understand why they are doing it. We definitely don't want to bring any diseases or deadly bacteria to the United States but they are going about it in a very extreme way. We all are raising captive bred, disease free animals and all we want to do is continue to do so so that there might not possibly become like a black market for newts ( if that would even be possible) I feel like they are trying to kill off our hobby and that's not right. We all really need to do something about this. Newts are a part of my life and i can't see that ever changing. Very upset over here.
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Old 13th January 2016   #42 (permalink)
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Default Re: SWEEPING BAN on salamander trade/transportation in effect this month

RE: Proposed Lobbying Strategy

George Axiotakis here (I'm the dude who does the epiphyte class for "American Frog Day." John is certainly right that we need to formulate a coherent strategy, and relatively quickly. I posted the relevant info at Dendroboard this morning. A few points, but we really don't have time to turn this into a debating society:

1) Big chains have a lobbying arm, USARK. They will try to fight this, only because they are afraid of the precedent. But our target at this stage is not them;

2) It was suggested above that we try to move specimens around before 1/28. I agree, we should communicate with other about who has what (e.g., I have 8 males, you have 8 females, etc

3) As I understand the regulation, the selection of the 20 genera is because it is believed that these salamandrids and few plethodontids are the most susceptible, based on an outbreak in Europe. Now is not the the time to argue the scientific logic of this, which leads to:

4) Our strategy need be coherent and consistent. I strongly concur that we must focus on the interstate ban and not the importation ban, as such:

a--Not only do we not object to the importation ban, we approve of the ban as a way to protect our pets and native populations:
b--Request that zoos and labs implement a testing procedure. For frog chytrid, one does not have to swab each frog; from what I understand this is a less potent virus (John?);
c--Make clear that the serious goals of private hobbyists (or researchers?) are education and conservation. These are not "play with" pets, rather we use them in classrooms, and are breeding animals threatened by pollution and climate change;
d--Suggest that the best way to insure that only safe specimens are being kept and traded is to insure that we can keep open, detailed records, thus eliminating any potential for a black market.

Thoughts? Again, not to be confrontational, but we need to be coherent and consistent. What we don't want to do is ask anyone to read 23-point letters, that will not help us.

Peace,

G
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Old 13th January 2016   #43 (permalink)
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Default Re: SWEEPING BAN on salamander trade/transportation in effect this month

I have posted about this on another forum I frequent (Cough, evolveforum cough!)
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Old 13th January 2016   #44 (permalink)
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Default Re: SWEEPING BAN on salamander trade/transportation in effect this month

Groundhog, I think you've mapped out a great structure for a letter/petition that we can tailor to the relevant audiences. Thank you!
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Old 13th January 2016   #45 (permalink)
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Default Re: SWEEPING BAN on salamander trade/transportation in effect this month

That is a great letter, now the only thing left is to send it!
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Old 13th January 2016   #46 (permalink)
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Default Re: SWEEPING BAN on salamander trade/transportation in effect this month

I'd be interested to know the rationale behind the 201 species listed. There are whole Asian and European genera from Salamandridae that have been left off. Why would Pachytriton be any less of a risk than Cynops? Ommatotriton, for example, is bred in good numbers by European keepers in areas which are already affected by Bsal.

It's either an un-thorough list or there's some kind of science behind it which I don't understand.

Missing from Salamandridae:

Echinotriton
Laotriton
Pachytriton
Calotriton
Ommatotriton
Lyciasalamandra
Mertensiella
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Old 13th January 2016   #47 (permalink)
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Default Re: SWEEPING BAN on salamander trade/transportation in effect this month

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark View Post
I'd be interested to know the rationale behind the 201 species listed. There are whole Asian and European genera from Salamandridae that have been left off. Why would Pachytriton be any less of a risk than Cynops? Ommatotriton, for example, is bred in good numbers by European keepers in areas which are already affected by Bsal.

It's either an un-thorough list or there's some kind of science behind it which I don't understand.

Missing from Salamandridae:

Echinotriton
Laotriton
Pachytriton
Calotriton
Ommatotriton
Lyciasalamandra
Mertensiella
Yes, I agree, why are those species off the list? They pose the same risk of infection if we follow their logic
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Old 13th January 2016   #48 (permalink)
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Default Re: SWEEPING BAN on salamander trade/transportation in effect this month

Quote:
Originally Posted by DartFrog180 View Post
Besides discussing, strategizing, and taking whatever action you feel appropriate to comment on the Proposed Rule, try also to think of the longer term.

One thing I would urge everyone to consider, assuming you are in a position to do so, is find ways to consolidate the stock that you do have either in your own collection or by sharing with community members here before January 28, or experienced keepers/breeders in your state after January 28. Think in terms of all possibilities and contingencies or combinations thereof.

For example, legal imports may not happen again in the foreseeable future, but perhaps testing will be reliable enough in the near future that interstate trade could again be permitted. If that happens it would be a shame if the hobby could not be resurrected because all that were left of captive stocks was Axolotls for example (or any other species not on the list of banned species). Take stock of what you have that is special and find a way to keep the breeding groups going!

These suggestions are not different than those made in several recent discussions (about how interests in certain species wax and wane until one day they are suddenly rare in the hobby). But now there is a real reason to try to work on innovative ways to legally keep species you are interested in around for the future. The market between hobbyists may undergo some huge changes, but I would ask, is money/profit the only reason for enjoying the hobby?

I've been a quiet lurker here for many years, and just joined about a year ago, but think this community has shown that private salamander enthusiasts and especially breeders have something to offer. Whether through innovative husbandry, or being able to work out many subtleties and quirks of breeding various species, many of you have contributed to the knowledge of salamanders. Don't forget that if and just because we may be adapting to some new realities.
Totally Agree ,as stated this is temp ban pending further information ,to be honest the ammount of WC that were coming into america was stupid ,and it will hopefully give the wild populations time to recover the collection damage
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Old 13th January 2016   #49 (permalink)
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Default Re: SWEEPING BAN on salamander trade/transportation in effect this month

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark View Post
Missing from Salamandridae:

Echinotriton
Laotriton
Pachytriton
Calotriton
Ommatotriton
Lyciasalamandra
Mertensiella
Ommatotriton is presumably covered by
(180) Triturus vittatus

...though your guess is as good as mine as to what
(174) Triturus hongkongensis
is.

The real reason would seem to be that those genera were not tested by Martel et al.
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Old 13th January 2016   #50 (permalink)
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Default Re: SWEEPING BAN on salamander trade/transportation in effect this month

Just made a petition on Change.org if this matters: https://www.change.org/p/u-s-fish-an...-lines/preview
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Old 13th January 2016   #51 (permalink)
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Default Re: SWEEPING BAN on salamander trade/transportation in effect this month

As I have been trying to educate myself more in Bsal, I have found nothing that states the fungus is found in eggs. Is it known if this fungus can be spread in spawn or is it only known to be found on the skin?

If is is not known to infect eggs/ eggs are not a known vector is this something we can include in our letters and petitions - to at least allow the interstate transportation of eggs even if we cannot ship larvae or metamorphosed animals?
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Old 13th January 2016   #52 (permalink)
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Default Re: SWEEPING BAN on salamander trade/transportation in effect this month

Wow.

Another point to argue is that a sweeping interstate ban will likely result in an unregulated black market in caudate trade that could increase risk of any spread. For example despite being banned in CA, axolotls still appear on the market there occasionally. However, a regulation that allows for responsible trade with monitored testing (annual) creates a responsible trade that would also allow for tracking should the disease appear in a caudate collection. Being able to track the spread would be help in controlling it, and would be much more effective towards achieving the goals of the legislation.

Also I think some effort has to be put into flushing out this proposed testing system/licensing system. Is it really feasible?
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Old 13th January 2016   #53 (permalink)
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Default Re: SWEEPING BAN on salamander trade/transportation in effect this month

I feel that this issue is way above my head. I did email my Congresswoman. I don't know if anyone will find this letter helpful, but here it is. I felt I had to do something.

Hello,

I am not sure you can help, but please at least forward my message to the person who is most able to help. I wait on line to vote, so I figured I could ask for a few minutes of your time.

To help prevent a deadly fungus from killing native salamanders, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is publishing an interim rule tomorrow to list 201 salamander species as injurious wildlife under the Lacey Act. The fungus Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans, also known as Bsal or salamander chytrid, is carried on the skin of various salamander species. Bsal has caused major die-offs of salamanders in Europe and poses an imminent threat to U.S. native salamander populations. The fungus is not yet known to be found in the United States, and to help ensure it remains that way, the Service is publishing an interim rule that will take effect on January 28, 2016.

My son and I breed newts and salamanders. We are not opposed to a ban on imports, but the ban on interstate commerce in these species, especially when the fungus "is not known to be found in the US" is not only extreme but it also make it very difficult for us to continue our hobby. Can you please have someone at the Fish and Wildlife Service reach out to me to listen to my concerns.

I do know that the honorable Congresswoman was not involved in drafting this, I am just asking that she send my concerns to the appropriate people.

Sincerely,
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Old 13th January 2016   #54 (permalink)
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Default Re: SWEEPING BAN on salamander trade/transportation in effect this month

Quote:
Originally Posted by jewett View Post
As I have been trying to educate myself more in Bsal, I have found nothing that states the fungus is found in eggs. Is it known if this fungus can be spread in spawn or is it only known to be found on the skin?

If is is not known to infect eggs/ eggs are not a known vector is this something we can include in our letters and petitions - to at least allow the interstate transportation of eggs even if we cannot ship larvae or metamorphosed animals?
Hi,

I've nothing on Bsal, but for the close species Bd (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis), I found in this paper :
http://www.oie.int/fileadmin/Home/en...CHOCHYRIUM.pdf

"The distribution of sporangia in adults and tadpoles shows that a stratified, keratinised epidermis is a requirement of Bd when occurring as a parasite (Berger et al., 1998 ; Marantelli et al., 2004)"

and :

"Mortality in tadpoles has not, in the main, been reported (there is one report stating otherwise [Blaustein et al., 2005]) and, to date, viable Bd has not been detected on eggs."

I hope this can help.

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Old 13th January 2016   #55 (permalink)
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Default Re: SWEEPING BAN on salamander trade/transportation in effect this month

Here is a link to submit a formal comment. It also has the document as well as the contact information for the two coordinators who drafted the legislation.

https://www.federalregister.gov/arti...chytrid-fungus
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Old 13th January 2016   #56 (permalink)
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Default Re: SWEEPING BAN on salamander trade/transportation in effect this month

Everyone should read this before commenting:

https://andreww1blog.wordpress.com/2...-as-injurious/
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Old 13th January 2016   #57 (permalink)
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Default Re: SWEEPING BAN on salamander trade/transportation in effect this month

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Here is a link to submit a formal comment. It also has the document as well as the contact information for the two coordinators who drafted the legislation.

https://www.federalregister.gov/arti...chytrid-fungus
Thanks Perry - this answered my previous question regarding transmission via eggs: "eggs and gametes are not expected to be pathways."

This is long, but in my opinion well worth the read.
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Old 13th January 2016   #58 (permalink)
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Default Re: SWEEPING BAN on salamander trade/transportation in effect this month

Also, thanks to the (So far) 7 people who signed the petition, we're slowly making our way up!
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Old 13th January 2016   #59 (permalink)
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Default Re: SWEEPING BAN on salamander trade/transportation in effect this month

I spoke with the people who crafted the rule. They said that under the Lacey Act you need to ban all (imports and interstate) or nothing.
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Old 13th January 2016   #60 (permalink)
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Default Re: SWEEPING BAN on salamander trade/transportation in effect this month

That thought just occurred to me as I read through. It does sound like the Lacey Act is an existing policy that would protect the wild populations, and my first thought is that no other legislature already exists. I hate to say it, but if that is the case, this might be the only/best option for the wild populations. Lacking other extant policies, it would be very difficult to tailor a law that bans international imports but allows interstate trade of CB specimens.

Granted, I am a pessimist regarding many things (bureauracracies rank high on the list), but I am starting to wonder if there is any alternative that would effectively protect native species from the introduction of the virulent chytrid that other countries are losing their caudates to.

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