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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; The Service is not adding eggs or gametes because Bsal does not appear to affect reproductive tissue such as eggs ...

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 14th January 2016   #81 (permalink)
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Default Re: SWEEPING BAN on salamander trade/transportation in effect this month

The Service is not adding eggs or gametes because Bsal does not appear to affect reproductive tissue such as eggs or gametes. The Service is not listing genera that we find are not carriers of Bsal because such salamanders are not capable of introducing Bsal to the United States or otherwise transmitting it to native populations. We are also not listing genera where there is no data, even though it is possible that untested genera may also be capable of carrying Bsal
Bsal does not appear to affect reproductive tissue, such as eggs or gametes. Using Bd for comparison, Bd requires keratin, a structural component of organisms found in amphibian skin, which is not found in salamander eggs or gametes
In general, entities that are affected by an injurious listing decision would include: (1) entities importing animals, gametes, viable eggs, and hybrids of species; and (2) entities (including breeders and wholesalers) with interstate sales of animals, gametes, viable eggs, and hybrids. (However, this rule does not include provisions pertaining to gametes and viable eggs.)"
The importation, transportation, or acquisition of any live or dead specimen, including parts, but not eggs or gametes, of the genera Chioglossa, Cynops, Euproctus, Hydromantes, Hynobius, Ichthyosaura, Lissotriton, Neurergus, Notophthalmus, Onychodactylus, Paramesotriton, Plethodon, Pleurodeles, Salamandra, Salamandrella, Salamandrina, Siren, Taricha, Triturus, and Tylototriton,

http://www.fws.gov/policy/library/2016/2016-00452.pdf



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Old 14th January 2016   #82 (permalink)
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Default Re: SWEEPING BAN on salamander trade/transportation in effect this month

I have a question, how would this ban effect exporting newts and salamanders? Just a thought, me and my dad were considering before we go back to the US for testing, to look for someone who can ship our little guys to Jordan, so they won't be in the US, and they'll be with me



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Old 14th January 2016   #83 (permalink)
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Default Re: SWEEPING BAN on salamander trade/transportation in effect this month

Quote:
Originally Posted by chaimdov View Post
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.
Then ask them to try to draft a different law that only affects imports



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Old 14th January 2016   #84 (permalink)
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Default Re: SWEEPING BAN on salamander trade/transportation in effect this month

Only 18 more signatures before we get to 100! Crazy how much the petition grew in one night! Thank you all for the support, and hopefully they edit this law so we can still practice out hobby



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Old 14th January 2016   #85 (permalink)
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Default Re: SWEEPING BAN on salamander trade/transportation in effect this month

We made it to 100 signatures you guys, lets keep up the good work, and try go make sure the law doesn't pass!



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Old 14th January 2016   #86 (permalink)
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Default Re: SWEEPING BAN on salamander trade/transportation in effect this month

Sad news indeed and I'm certain a lot of caudate keepers have absolutely no idea this is occurring. I get into my own twilight zone in life and honest I heard a rumor of this in summer but I didn't hear anything after sorta sneaky if ya ask me.

Strange n sorta scary because aquatic amphibians were one the only groups of exotics not under the gun of over regulation because of salmonella scares etc....
And imho I'd bet money any strain of whatever pathogen in Euro, S Amer,Afr and Asian collections is definitely in America already not to mention I believe the bullfrogs here have some form even worse. Personally I've had an experience with something from live bloodworms wipe out various species in a very short period from crustaceans to guppies,mollies,platys to axolotls and my adf tank seems almost specific exactly what they say is not here yet I bought the worms at the pet store? Probably dozens a sub-species of the fungus. Bullfrogs here have something wicked zombie apocalypse type flesh eating fungus I will try and photograph this season and share here it is horrible and definitely chytrid..........but of course got no concrete scientific evidence just rambling.....


I'm willing to write letters or do whatever I can to oppose this.



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Old 14th January 2016   #87 (permalink)
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Default Re: SWEEPING BAN on salamander trade/transportation in effect this month

I) Please be aware that an online petition will accomplish nothing, as FWS does not accept Emails or faxes (Think for a moment, they really have no alternative, or they'd be inundated with Spam and nonsense).

1) Any petitions will have to hard copy;
2) Write to your representatives in Congress;
3) Leave a coherent comment at the FWS website regulations.gov The docket # is
FWS-HQ-FAC-2015-0005



II) The following is the text of my proposed comment. Seeking the opinions of professionals before I post it--time is of the essence:


RE: FWS-HQ-FAC-2015-0005


To whom it may concern:


My name is George Axiotakis, an educator and serious hobbyist in New York. I am writing to offer my comments on FWS-HQ-FAC-2015-0005, the proposal to ban importation and interstate transport of 201 salamander species due to the possibility of Bsal contamination. It is my understanding that the Lacey Act entails a ban on importation and interstate transport. After correspondence and discussion with other private hobbyists and professionals, many of us believe the following steps can accomplish what the ban seeks to do. To be clear, we do not object to the importation ban; in fact, we approve of the importation ban as the best way to protect our pets and native populations, as there is no evidence to date of Bsal in North America. But we do find the ban on interstate transport to be problematic, unnecessary and potentially injurious to businesses, herpetologists and some of the listed salamander species.


The following suggestions specifically address questions 5 and 6 in the Agency's request for comments:


1) We strongly suggest that that zoos and veterinary labs implement a testing procedure for extant captive collections. For Bd (frog chytrid), one does not have to swab each frog; from what I understand Bsal is a less potent virus. Collections that test clean could receive appropriate certification;
2) Be aware thatserious goals of researchers and private hobbyists include education and conservation. These are not "play with" pets, rather we use them in classrooms to teach evolution and biodiversity. In addition, several of the listed species are threatened by climate change and human encroachment, and captive breeding of these animals ensures that there will be some viable populations;
3) We believe that the best way to ensure that only safe specimens are being kept and traded is to allow professional and private keepers to keep open, detailed records, thus eliminating any potential for a black market.


I thank the Agency for its consideration of these comments.


Sincerely,


George Axiotakis



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Old 14th January 2016   #88 (permalink)
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Default Re: SWEEPING BAN on salamander trade/transportation in effect this month

I'm glad I was able to participate in this petition and I encourage everyone else reading this to do their part.

Just reposting the link again so people don't need to dig for it:

https://www.change.org/p/u-s-fish-an...us-state-lines



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Old 14th January 2016   #89 (permalink)
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Default Re: SWEEPING BAN on salamander trade/transportation in effect this month

As George/Groundhog stated the official comment will have much more impact than a petition. Please submit your formal comments at federalregister.gov. Might I suggest making this link sticky or banner ad with the comment link to avoid confusion?

Here is the link to save you some digging:

https://www.federalregister.gov/arti...chytrid-fungus



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Old 14th January 2016   #90 (permalink)
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Default Re: SWEEPING BAN on salamander trade/transportation in effect this month

Quote:
Originally Posted by otolith View Post
As George/Groundhog stated the official comment will have much more impact than a petition. Please submit your formal comments at federalregister.gov. Might I suggest making this link sticky or banner ad with the comment link to avoid confusion?

Here is the link to save you some digging:

https://www.federalregister.gov/arti...chytrid-fungus
Making a message for everyone else to comment too. I already made a comment before I started the petition, just wanted to do more. If our hobby dies, I don't want it to be remembered going down peacefully!



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Old 14th January 2016   #91 (permalink)
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Default Re: SWEEPING BAN on salamander trade/transportation in effect this month

I intend to add more later, but make sure to have the facts straight on any submissions. It's to our advantage if OUR facts are correct, and the oppositions are wrong. For instance, Batrachochytrium is a fungus, not a virus.

In addition, the ban seems to cover..um...199 species? Tylototriton himalayanus isn't listed, but is included at genus level. Tylototriton daweishanensis doesn't count, as it's a synonym of T.yangi. Triturus hongkongensis doesn't count, as it's a synonym of Paramesotriton hongkongensis. Ommatotriton isn't listed at genus level, but O.vittatus is listed as a species of Triturus. This is problematic, since vittatus is included only by virtue of being "Triturus" [which it's not], but O.ophryticus is not mentioned, and is neither Triturus nor O.vittatus. Plethodon ainsworthi is in all likelihood a synonym of P.mississippi. The listing is very sloppy, as it uses a mish-mash of incorrect and dated taxonomies, in part pulled straight from USFWS import records [including such incorrect names as Tylototriton pyrrhogaster]. Some "Hydromantes" have the alternate name Speleomantes listed, but most do not. It's pretty easy to demonstrate that the listing is sloppy and unscientific, since there is such a huge mismatch of current taxonomies and badly dated or incorrect ones.

Interestingly, the listing of Plethodon could be based mainly on the fact that I brought my personal [US-origin] animals with me when I moved here on February 8, 2013. Hynobius is also listed in part on that basis, but I brought H.tokyoensis, not H.amjiensis. I also brought Notophthalmus viridescens piaropicola.



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Old 14th January 2016   #92 (permalink)
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Default Re: SWEEPING BAN on salamander trade/transportation in effect this month

Logically, These are NOT injurious wildlife. What is injurious, is the fungus, which is not an integral part of any of these animals. To categorically exclude any species because of a disease it might potentially harbor, means which should stop allowing people [Ebola, Marburg, Influenza, etc], dogs and cats [rabies, plague, distemper, influenza], pigs [influenza], birds [influenza], snakes [IBD, tongue worms], lizards [tongue worms], cows [BSE, anthrax], etc from crossing international borders. There are many more potential transmissible diseases and parasites. I would suggest not only closing borders, but creating "dead zones" along borders, which are periodically baked to radioactive glass, to prevent anything from crossing on its own.



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Old 14th January 2016   #93 (permalink)
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Default Re: SWEEPING BAN on salamander trade/transportation in effect this month

We can link to the petition in our comments on the ban. I'm getting people outside the hobby to sign the petition but would be unable to get them to comment. I think both are helpful.



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Old 14th January 2016   #94 (permalink)
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Default Re: SWEEPING BAN on salamander trade/transportation in effect this month

I'm going to polish it before I make submit an official comment to FWS, anything I should add? Feel free to use this in your submissions.

I read the FWS-HQ-FAC-2015-0005 ban of importation and interstate transport of 201 salamander species due to the possibility of Bsal contamination. While I can agree with banning the importation of salamander species from different parts of the world into the United States, I strongly oppose banning interstate transport of salamanders.

Captive bred salamanders reduce the pressure of taking animals out of the wild (or be imported) and are disease-free when kept properly. The salamanders I keep at home and at my job have all been screened and are negative for Bd, Bsal, and Ranavirus. It is not hard to do, just costly because many labs haven't started doing it for Bsal yet. Smithsonian is currently running Bd and Bsal swabs for captive salamanders from private individuals for free. The majority of salamander hobbyists would be happy to get their animals screened before sending them to other people.

Making it illegal to transport captive bred salamander species across state lines will decimate conservation programs across the United States. Zoological institutions are not focusing on taking care of or breeding salamanders. The private sector is driving the success of propagating salamander species in captivity. Not a lot is known about salamanders; keeping these animals and transporting them to other hobbyists will help make strides in husbandry and will provide conservation programs with major success.

Bsal could decimate salamander species in the United States, but this ban does not take into account pressures amphibians are already facing such as habitat loss, rising temperatures, pesticide use and siltation from agriculture (to name a few). The ramifications from this ban will actually hurt salamanders.

I hope Fish and Wildlife changes what they proposed.



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Old 14th January 2016   #95 (permalink)
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Default Re: SWEEPING BAN on salamander trade/transportation in effect this month

Yep, Ed pointed out my error on Dendroboard (I had just been reading about ebola and its supposed eradication).

My greater concern regards testing protocols. The test exist, but how do we implement it? Let's say we get a ruling that says only specimens from tested facilities can be shipped between states. Fine--will the hobbyist/breeder be able to find a lab?
And how often must a facility be tested?


Quote:
Originally Posted by FrogEyes View Post
I intend to add more later, but make sure to have the facts straight on any submissions. It's to our advantage if OUR facts are correct, and the oppositions are wrong. For instance, Batrachochytrium is a fungus, not a virus.

In addition, the ban seems to cover..um...199 species? Tylototriton himalayanus isn't listed, but is included at genus level. Tylototriton daweishanensis doesn't count, as it's a synonym of T.yangi. Triturus hongkongensis doesn't count, as it's a synonym of Paramesotriton hongkongensis. Ommatotriton isn't listed at genus level, but O.vittatus is listed as a species of Triturus. This is problematic, since vittatus is included only by virtue of being "Triturus" [which it's not], but O.ophryticus is not mentioned, and is neither Triturus nor O.vittatus. Plethodon ainsworthi is in all likelihood a synonym of P.mississippi. The listing is very sloppy, as it uses a mish-mash of incorrect and dated taxonomies, in part pulled straight from USFWS import records [including such incorrect names as Tylototriton pyrrhogaster]. Some "Hydromantes" have the alternate name Speleomantes listed, but most do not. It's pretty easy to demonstrate that the listing is sloppy and unscientific, since there is such a huge mismatch of current taxonomies and badly dated or incorrect ones.

Interestingly, the listing of Plethodon could be based mainly on the fact that I brought my personal [US-origin] animals with me when I moved here on February 8, 2013. Hynobius is also listed in part on that basis, but I brought H.tokyoensis, not H.amjiensis. I also brought Notophthalmus viridescens piaropicola.



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Old 14th January 2016   #96 (permalink)
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Default Re: SWEEPING BAN on salamander trade/transportation in effect this month

With this ban going into effect, it is essentially killing off our hobby. It's making it very hard to continue with the existence of many species that could potentially go extinct in the wild. We have a great deal of animal that we are breeding and sharing with other keepers in order to maintain their survival. Part of the reason that the importations of certain species had stopped or slowed down was because we were producing and distributing so many. Can this potentially bring up somewhat of a demand for more wild caught animals and cause like a black market.



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Old 15th January 2016   #97 (permalink)
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Default Re: SWEEPING BAN on salamander trade/transportation in effect this month

I'm doing what I can to help-- I signed the petition and commented, and encouraging others to do so. I have an entomology professor at the university I'm attending who may be willing to help as well. John Clare, I can provide data on the species I'm keeping.



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Old 15th January 2016   #98 (permalink)
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Default Re: SWEEPING BAN on salamander trade/transportation in effect this month

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Originally Posted by Sanshouo View Post
One thing I mentioned in my comment that others may want to as well is the fact that this hobby is the only reason many people are even aware of most of these species.
That is part of our letter but great point.



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Old 15th January 2016   #99 (permalink)
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Default Re: SWEEPING BAN on salamander trade/transportation in effect this month

Quote:
Originally Posted by matamander View Post
While I can agree with banning the importation of salamander species from different parts of the world into the United States, I strongly oppose banning interstate transport of salamanders.
You need to stress in the first part of that sentence that you only agree because wild caught animals could be diseased and it also helps minimize the exploitation of wild populations for commercial gain.

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Originally Posted by matamander View Post
It is not hard to do, just costly because many labs haven't started doing it for Bsal yet. Smithsonian is currently running Bd and Bsal swabs for captive salamanders from private individuals for free.
VetDNA Research Associates Laboratory have been testing for B.sal for over a year. I had mine tested there. They send an electronic copy of your test results within 24 hours. It's about $20 a test and the most expensive part is shipping the samples (i.e. it's cheap).

Quote:
Originally Posted by matamander View Post
The private sector is driving the success of propagating salamander species in captivity.
That's the opposite to reality. Did you forget a "not" in there or something?

Quote:
Originally Posted by matamander View Post
Not a lot is known about salamanders; keeping these animals and transporting them to other hobbyists will help make strides in husbandry and will provide conservation programs with major success.

Bsal could decimate salamander species in the United States, but this ban does not take into account pressures amphibians are already facing such as habitat loss, rising temperatures, pesticide use and siltation from agriculture (to name a few). The ramifications from this ban will actually hurt salamanders.
They won't care about that so much because that requires a lot more work (and there are no salamander lobbyists besides us) than just dropping a quick ban on something with little commercial interest.

Quote:
Originally Posted by matamander View Post
I hope Fish and Wildlife changes what they proposed.
Me too.

Thanks for your thoughtful writing too.



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Old 15th January 2016   #100 (permalink)
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Default Re: SWEEPING BAN on salamander trade/transportation in effect this month

I don't know if anyone else called their representative, but mine don't really believe anyone is involved in this hobby. At first they thought it was a prank call. John Clare do you have numbers on how many hobbyists are in the US. Any idea how many captive bred caudata are sold each year by hobby breeders? I am asure that you saw in the report that it is only a few hundred. Is this true?



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