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British Columbia laws - the parts you didn't hear about

This is a discussion on British Columbia laws - the parts you didn't hear about within the Laws/Legality and Ethics forums, part of the Herpetological Science & Politics category; I posted this [including a couple rude comments I've edited out] elsewhere some time ago, and thought it about time ...

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 7th February 2012   #1 (permalink)
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Default British Columbia laws - the parts you didn't hear about

I posted this [including a couple rude comments I've edited out] elsewhere some time ago, and thought it about time to include it here.

For those of you who thought you were "safe" when new BC exotic wildlife law came into force, because you keep amphibians which were barely mentioned in the new regulations...BOY were you wrong. Axolotls? Illegal. Lungless salamanders of any kind? Illegal. White's treefrogs? Red-eyes? These and hundreds more were ALREADY ILLEGAL in BC, as of the year 2000! Read on...

Over the past few years, the changes to the British Columbia Wildlife Act, specifically the Controlled Alien Species Regulation, have gotten a lot of attention. [see link for the regulation]

http://www.bclaws.ca/EPLibraries/bcl...eeside/94_2009

Something of special note is the fact that despite being a regulation within the "wildlife" act, there is precisely NOTHING in this regulation which addresses actual impacts on wildlife. Ostensibly, this regulation was largely modeled on Alberta's regulation, although the latter actually does deal with the potential for introduction of exotic species. This might be due to ANOTHER set of rules that people overlook. In Alberta, there has been some confusion arising from people not realising that *native* species will obviously NOT be dealt with in *exotic* species regulations.

There's a similar situation in BC law. Except that the BC law was written by a ...very sloppy and intellectually lazy group, and doesn't actually list BC species. You'll find it here, and I will make some key summary points:

http://www.bclaws.ca/EPLibraries/bcl...side/13_168_90

This is the "Designation and Exemption Regulation". I looked there, because it seemed to me that any listing of 'game', 'non-game', 'upland game bird', etc., would fit there. Bingo.

Here is a key quote of what are considered "wildlife" [that is native and protected species which you can't catch or kill except to protect life or property] This regulation is dated 2000, and thus will not accomodate taxonomy later than that. However, it was updated in 2009, and some of the taxonomy clearly reflects that:


Quote:
Schedule A
[section 1]
[en. B.C. Reg. 253/2000, App. 2, s. 9; am. B.C. Regs. 132/2002, s. (b); 120/2009, Sch. 1.]
...


3 Amphibians of the following species:
(a) all species of the family Ambystomatidae mole salamanders;
(b) all species of the family Dicamptodontidae giant salamanders;
(c) all species of the family Plethodontidae lungless salamanders;
(d) all species of the family Pelobatidae spadefoots;
(e) all species of the family Hylidae treefrogs;
(f) all species of the family Ranidae true frogs;
(g) all species of the genus Taricha newts;
(h) all species of the genus Ascaphus tailed frogs;
(i) all species of the genus Bufo toads.



4 Reptiles of the following species:
(a) all species of the family Emydidae pond and river turtles;
(b) all species of the family Trionychidae soft-shelled turtles;
(c) all species of the family Chelydridae snapping turtles;
(d) Repealed. [B.C. Reg. 120/2009, Sch. 1, s. 2 (a).]
(e) all species of the genus Podarcis wall lizards;
(f) all species of the genus Phrynosoma horned lizards;
(g) all species of the genus Eumeces skinks;
(h) all species of the genus Elgaria alligator lizards;
(i) all species of the genus Thamnophis garter snakes;
(j) Charina bottae rubber boa;
(k) Coluber constrictor racer;
(l) Contia tenuis sharptail snake;
(m) Hypsiglena torquata night snake;
(n) Pituophis catenifer gopher snake;
(o) nora semiannulata ground snake;
(p) Crotalus oreganus western rattlesnake.

I'll deal with the things I think of special note:

(a) all species of the family Ambystomatidae mole salamanders;
That includes all species of tiger salamander, blue-spotted, spotted, marbled, Anderson's salamanders, AND axolotls. Yes. "Wildlife" and illegal to possess.
(c) all species of the family Plethodontidae lungless salamanders;
BC has three native species and one spreading exotic species. The exotic species is, of course, protected from harm and possession along with the native ones. Out of several HUNDRED, all of which are ostensibly 'wildlife'. If any should be introduced, you're prohibited from harming them. No Bolitoglossa, no Pseudotriton, no Eurycea, no Desmognathus, and obviously no Plethodon allowed.
(d) all species of the family Pelobatidae spadefoots;
In 2000, this family commonly included the tropical Asian Megophrys, Xenophrys, and Leptobrachium, but not long afterwards these were accepted as a separate family Megophryidae. As of 2009, Pelobatidae included only the Eurasian-African Pelobates. Presently, North American spadefoots are placed in family Scaphiopodidae. So are BC Spea intermontana no longer 'wildlife'? Are Megophrys 'wildlife'? Good questions.
(e) all species of the family Hylidae treefrogs;
BC has three native hylids, Pseudacris maculata, P.regilla, and P.sierrae [not yet confirmed]. In 2000, this family included many hundreds of species, which are now placed in Phyllomedusidae, Hemiphractidae, Amphignathodontidae, and Pelodryadidae. A SHORT list of popular animals which are illegal to possess therefore includes:
Litoria caerulea, infrafrenata, aurea/raniformis, rubella
Hyla arborea, chinensis, gratiosa, cinerea, chrysoscelis, squirella, versicolor
Gastrotheca spp.
Phyllomedusa hypochondrialis, tomopterna, sauvagii, azurea, bicolor
Agalychnis callidryas
(f) all species of the family Ranidae true frogs;
This is truly an idiotic listing. Family "Ranidae" is possibly the most unstable group ever used, since it is the historical default for ALL frogs. BC ranids include two native Lithobates, three native Rana, and two introduced Lithobates. In recent times, this family has included what are now Rhacophoridae, Hyperoliidae, Mantellidae, Hemisotidae, Ptychadenidae, Arthroleptidae, Pyxicephalidae, Dicroglossidae, Nyctibatrachidae, Ceratobatrachidae, and Phrynobatrachidae [I've likely missed one or two].

I'll be generous and assume they didn't intend to include the first four families. That leaves a HUGE list of illegals, including:
Hylarana erythraea
Occidozyga laevis
Ceratobatrachus guentheri
Pyxicephalus edulis
Conraua alleni
Leptopelis flavomaculatus
Phrynobatrachus natalensis
Yep. Genius at work.
(g) all species of the genus Taricha newts;
Straightforward. So ALL other species of newt and true salamander are legal, many of which could survive in the wild in BC
(h) all species of the genus Ascaphus tailed frogs;
Straightforward. Only two species exist, both native to BC.
(i) all species of the genus Bufo toads.
This is another problematic dumping ground. All toads not assigned to a unique genus have traditionally been dumped in Bufo. In 2006, this was fixed by reassigning all species according to their actual relationships. Bufo in the strict sense does not occur in the Americas. Toads of BC and most of North America are all now Anaxyrus. This law pre-dates that change, so the following are all protected 'wildlife':
Pseudepidalia brongersmai, viridis
Phrynoidis asper
Duttaphrynus melanostictus
Anaxyrus retiformis, debilis, terrestris, americanus, quercicus, punctatus, cognatus, speciosus
Incilius nebulifer, valliceps, alvarius
Nanophryne variegata
Rhinella marina, spinulosa, margaritifer
Amietophrynus regularis
Rhaebo guttatus



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Old 7th February 2012   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: British Columbia laws - the parts you didn't hear about

(a) all species of the family Emydidae pond and river turtles;
One species is native to BC, another is a possibly extirpated native, and another is a spreading introduction.
In 2000, this commonly included all species now assigned to Geoemydidae.
The following are protected 'wildlife':
Chinemys reevesi
Trachemys scripta [I think there's an exemption somewhere, but I couldn't find it]
Graptemys spp.
Malaclemmys terrapin
Rhinoclemmys punctularia
Terrapene carolina
Emys orbicularis
Batagur borneoensis
Sacalia quadriocellata
Cuora amboinensis
(b) all species of the family Trionychidae soft-shelled turtles;
None occur anywhere near BC, but if any are introduced, they're protected from harm. Of course, that can't happen because as 'wildlife', they can't be possessed.
(c) all species of the family Chelydridae snapping turtles;
Ditto. Reports of introduction without breeding. There IS an exemption to allow killing of snappers in BC, but you can't own them.
(e) all species of the genus Podarcis wall lizards;
One species is a spreading introduction, but you can't harm it. Few species are actually in the pet trade.
(f) all species of the genus Phrynosoma horned lizards;
One species with a limited distribution in BC. Currently considered extirpated, but reports suggest otherwise. Two species appear regularly in the pet trade, neither makes a good pet, and either might survive introduction.
(g) all species of the genus Eumeces skinks;
Dumping ground of unrelated skinks. Eumeces is now restricted to Africa. The only BC representative is Plestiodon skiltonianus.
Prohibited species include:
Plestiodon obsoletus, inexpectatus, fasciatus, reynoldsi, anthracinus, gilberti, elegans, septentrionalis, chinensis
Eumeces schneideri, algeriensis
Eurylepis taeniolatus
Mesoscincus schwartzei
(h) all species of the genus Elgaria alligator lizards;
Straightforward. A single BC species and a handful of others west of the Rockies.
(i) all species of the genus Thamnophis garter snakes;
Five BC natives, all protected. Several dozen additional forms prohibited, including:
Thamnophis sirtalis concinnus
Thamnophis marcianus
Thamnophis cyrtopsis
Thamnophis atratus
Thamnophis proximus
Thamnophis sauritus
(j) Charina bottae rubber boa;
Straightforward. Native. Except in 2000, included what is now recognized as Charina umbratica.
(k) Coluber constrictor racer;
This name includes five species. Those in BC have long been recommended recognition as Coluber mormon. However, all forms are regulated. None is common in the pet trade, and they're not reknowned as pets.
(l) Contia tenuis sharptail snake;
Native and apparently highly restricted in BC. A second species restricted to Oregon and California would also be protected by this law, C.longicaudae.
(m) Hypsiglena torquata night snake;
Highly limited in BC and deserving of protection. This species is now restricted to Mexico, and BC populations are now H.chlorophaea. All five species are protected in BC, since use of this name [and the date of the law] clearly indicates pre-split taxonomy.
(n) Pituophis catenifer gopher snake;
Pine snakes are fine, Mexican species are fine, but all the western USA forms are banned from possession in BC. The Cape gopher snake, P.vertebralis, was included in P.catenifer at the time of this law, and is thus prohibited.
(o) nora semiannulata ground snake;
Nice. No such critter, and thus no standing in law. The actual species would be Sonora semmiannulata, which does not occur in BC. Also not common in the pet trade.
(p) Crotalus oreganus western rattlesnake.
Straightforward.

You can kill the following 'wildlife':

Quote:
Schedule C
[sections 10 (1) (a), 11 (1), 4, 2 (1), 6 (1)]
[en. B.C. Reg. 253/2000, App. 2, s. 9.]
...


3 Amphibians of the following species:
(a) Rana catesbeiana bullfrog;
(b) Rana clamitans green frog.



4 Reptiles of the following species:
(a) all species of the family Chelydridae snapping turtles.

I used to think that Alberta's slightly longer list of prohibited exotic amphibians was questionable. In light of unearthing BC's absurdity, I actually feel even MORE fortunate!



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Old 7th February 2012   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: British Columbia laws - the parts you didn't hear about

That is monumentally ridiculous.

Under 8(h) of the Designation and Exemption Regulation:
Quote:
an animal not defined as wildlife in the Wildlife Act or regulations, that is not native to or does not naturally occur within the province and is tame and kept in captivity for the use of man.
If it weren't for the 'shotgun' definitions in Schedule A, any non-native members of your list would be excluded.

I'm very curious how pet stores in BC are still able to sell axolotls; are they just not enforcing it?



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Old 8th February 2012   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: British Columbia laws - the parts you didn't hear about

All attention was focused on the "exotic" law changes. No-one paid attention to the existing "wildlife" laws and how they affect exotic "wildlife" - including enforcement agencies.

A friend of mine who keeps exotic garters is looking at moving to BC, and checked with authorities there regarding his pine snakes and garters, and their response regarding the garters was that they consider them ALL to be "wildlife" and thus prohibited from possession [just as the law says]. Whether they enforce it is obviously another matter, and probably of such scale as to make the law meaningless.



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Old 2nd February 2016   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: British Columbia laws - the parts you didn't hear about

This law obviously needs to be fully updated. I understand why they would want to be very broad, to avoid loopholes of keeping newly discovered or reclassified species, but they need to include exceptions. Most of these species don't even live in wild in BC, native or introduced, so it seems ridiculous not to have exceptions for them. Also, this info was extremely hard to find, I've been keeping Axolotls for a year now, which, granted, isn't a long time but I do a LOT of research, and it took me that long just to find out that they are illegal. Even pet stores don't know they're illegal, and I wish this was the only time this has happened, but it isn't. I've been trying to figure out if Rhinoceros Beetles are legal for 6 months and still have no definite answer. The BC government really needs to work on updating and clarifying laws like these, as well as making them easier to find because this is insane.



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Old 3rd February 2016   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: British Columbia laws - the parts you didn't hear about

Beetles are insects. That's federal law. You can't import or possess them if they're not native to Canada. The list of legal invertebrates includes all scorpions, spiders, and centipedes [ie, non-Volant predators]. In general, flying [ie, insects] or herbivorous [such as millipedes] invertebrates don't make the cut. There are far too many species of invertebrate for the potential impacts of any particular one being studied for approval. Mantids will eat bees, phasmids will eat crops, millipedes will eat crops and greenhouse plants, etc. One phasmid is native but is a designated pest species; another is native but not yet formally documented. Three mantids are native or established. A couple giant millipedes are native. Various land snails are native or established. Two or three cockroaches are established. So other than what's already there, you're probably out of luck.



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Old 10th February 2016   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: British Columbia laws - the parts you didn't hear about

Dart frogs are illegal where I am but all the mom and pop shops sell them. I think a lot of these stupid laws are passed as favors to animal rights donors but no one really cares about them so they just pass them to keep the checks coming. Unfortunately, it does mean that some poor slob could on occasion have his collection confiscated so they are worth trying to undo or modify.,



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