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Near and Middle Eastern Newts (Neurergus) Arguably the most beautiful newts in the world, this Asian genus is highly desired by many hobbyists.


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Old 19th April 2009   #41
Nate
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Default Re: Neurergus kaiseri prices

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Maybe they should just federally/CITES I list them and outlaw the ownership of the species completely. Probably easier to change a few laws than alter the dynamics of capitalism.
Working with Iran to secure a CITES I listing and federal protection here in the US and abroad... That's easy enough, eh? Wonder why no one else has thought of that.

Oh wait...

It is probably already too late for the Kaiser's. Even if Iran wanted to make it illegal to trade the newts internationally, the CITES process can take two or more years -- and the looming extinction of of Kaiser's is not a top priority for Iran.

Ernie Cooper
Director TRAFFIC & Wildlife Trade
World Wildlife Fund - Canada




Last edited by nate; 19th April 2009 at 18:05. Reason: forgot the quote
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Old 19th April 2009   #42
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Default Re: Neurergus kaiseri prices

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Originally Posted by nate View Post
This is exactly what's going to make them go extinct soon. Don't confuse animals living in tanks at home with staving off functional extinction. No one is managing their animals for long-term genetic diversity. No one is quarantining the animals from the rest of their collection. When kaiseri goes extinct in the wild, hobbyist animals will not save the species. Hobbyists will simply have been recycling and inbreeding the same unknown genetic lines, knowingly or unknowingly crossing siblings, etc. and overall making a mess of the remaining genetics. And frankly, many will be ecstatic when the albinos or other profitable mutations start showing up...
I understand the genetic ramifications as I stated in an earlier post. I'm well aware of the problems with this solution, not just inbreeding, but genetic drift under new selection pressures. However, by the logic of your statement, the amphibian ark project is a waste of time and effort. You can have your gloom and doom. I'll look for the positives and work around them. Maintaining a captive population while working towards reintroduction can be a viable option to save a species. Albeit ridiculous that it's necessary for this species.

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Originally Posted by nate View Post
There are only ~200 WC animals in the maket at a time, the roughly consistent number of breeding adults they can collect in a season. So 50 (25%) would in fact be a dent. And yeah, there have been more than 50 CB kaiseri available at a time over the years on several occasions. The price for kaiseri has remained pretty stable over the last 10 years. Sure, there are some wild price outliers, both high and low. Over that time, I've personally seen them as high as 250$ each and as low as 75$ each. There is virtually no change in the price of WC animals from 2004 to 2009. Certainly no level of change that threatens to render collecting wild caught adults obsolete. And let's just say for the sake of discussion that the price has indeed gone down 20-30$ or even 50$ during that 5-year span (I don't think it has)...it's an insufficient rate to put wild collecting out of business. They have held their value tremendously well. If there are any animals left to collect next year, rest assured, they'll be in the 100+ range.
We're just going to have to disagree on the factors that influence caudate pricing.



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Old 19th April 2009   #43
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Default Re: Neurergus kaiseri prices

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Originally Posted by nate View Post
It is probably already too late for the Kaiser's. Even if Iran wanted to make it illegal to trade the newts internationally, the CITES process can take two or more years -- and the looming extinction of of Kaiser's is not a top priority for Iran.

Ernie Cooper
Director TRAFFIC & Wildlife Trade
World Wildlife Fund - Canada
That is just plain absurd. Collectors can find up to 200/yr consistently for the past 5 years, yet two years is too long to wait for CITES listing? How do those population dynamics work? One year's poachings is more than enough to start a founder population, particularly if it consists of loads of adults in breeding condition and the husbandry has all been worked out already. And I doubt that hobbyists giving away cb kaiseri will be able to swamp the market and eliminate the demand with less than two years worth of captive breedings. Can only do that with Phyllomedusa bicolor :)

WCS already has people working on cheetahs in Iran, so the government is certainly amenable to some international conservation endeavors in their country.

There aren't that many salamander enthusiasts...why don't we just ridicule anyone who keeps them at all and take a stance that the species should NOT be kept That will reduce the number of potential buyers.



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Old 19th April 2009   #44
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Default AW: Neurergus kaiseri prices

There seems to be some confusion at how hobbyist collections can help to save a species by captive breeding for reintroduction purposes.

The attempt to save a species in captivity is always a last resort measure and hasn't proven very effective in a number of past scenarios. Also such a project has to be planned thoroughly and in advance!

The best way to conserve a species is in its natural habitat (in-situ conservation). This is uniformly agreed upon within the scientific community.

Breedability of a species in captivity on the other hand is often used as an excuse to not save the species in its natural surroundings, because this might involve more difficulties or greater amounts of money and so forth.

Small groups of animals in hobbyist collections spread over several continents are not a viable captive population for reintroduction purposes; for various and also obvious reasons, even if the animals reproduce from time to time. I admit however, that this may contribute to further establish a species in the hobby.

Last but not least, to my knowledge the amphibian ark project is not aiming at the conservation of threatened amphibians in hobbyist collections.

For anybody interested to do some further reading or googling to gather some facts, some key words would be "ex-situ conservation", "inbreeding depression" and "living gene bank".

@taherman: we are not talking about population data here, at the best the 200 animals per year is the number of animals caught each season. I suspect, however, that this is just the number of animals reaching the market. Also keep in mind that you have to consider the "effort" to catch and collect. With the consistently high prices for these animals the effort to collect/catch the animals (and to make a quick buck) might well have considerably increased making the seemingly stable number of 200 animals per year a sure sign for the decline of the adult breeding population.



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Old 19th April 2009   #45
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Default Re: Neurergus kaiseri prices

i paid 100$ each for my pair



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Old 19th April 2009   #46
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Default Re: Neurergus kaiseri prices

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That is just plain absurd. Collectors can find up to 200/yr consistently for the past 5 years, yet two years is too long to wait for CITES listing?
The quote is from 2007, actually. Since then, people have in fact been working on CITES listing for kaiseri, from both inside and outside of Iran. You've seen the results by now. Maybe you know the secret to speed things up and can share it with Ernie? WCS perhaps?

Quote:
How do those population dynamics work? One year's poachings is more than enough to start a founder population, particularly if it consists of loads of adults in breeding condition and the husbandry has all been worked out already.
Population dynamics: To add to points that Ralf made, there were no kaiseri collected in 2008, or at least, none imported into the US. Feel free to draw your own conclusions as to why last year was skipped. Or as to why this year's imports are smaller and younger than any previously.

Quote:
And I doubt that hobbyists giving away cb kaiseri will be able to swamp the market and eliminate the demand with less than two years worth of captive breedings. Can only do that with Phyllomedusa bicolor :)
Wow, so much doubt around here these days...and Peter says I'm all doom and gloom! I have fecundity numbers on this that I'm not going to give out here on this forum, but feel free to PM me (Tim only) and I'll endeavor to shelve that doubt for you.




Last edited by nate; 19th April 2009 at 20:17. Reason: spelling!
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Old 20th April 2009   #47
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Default Re: Neurergus kaiseri prices

Well, I was thinking to say something more, but I feel that I've said most of what I had to say somewhere in this thread. Anymore seems to be just redundant or off-topic. At the very least, with the >1,000 views of this thread I hope everyone (collector, breeder, or just curious folk) who is enjoying the read is more aware of the complexities of the situation and their roles in the fate of this highly desired newt. Thanks for the debate John and Nate.



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Old 20th April 2009   #48
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Default Re: Neurergus kaiseri prices

Anyone currently posting adds on KS* would it be against their policy to allow you to put a warning(in your ad, alongside your CB newts) on the state of wild kaiseri and urge buyers to avoid them?



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Old 20th April 2009   #49
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Default Re: Neurergus kaiseri prices

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Originally Posted by Jennewt View Post
I sooooo wish I could agree with this, but there's a fundamental problem. If I and 10 other generous breeders raise as many kaiseri juvs as we can, and then sell them for $5 each, they will be "sold out" in about 2 days. With the price that low, and a limited supply, the demand becomes virtually infinite. Then after that 2-day sale, the importers go back to selling their $120 WC animals, and there are still enough "craving" people out there to buy them. There is just no way to ever satisfy the demand for a newt this pretty; none of us have the capacity to raise a thousand of them (I wish!) And from what I've seen, the vast majority of the people who have them will never offer a single egg/juv to anyone else.

Without an economic incentive, there are only a few of us on the planet who are willing spend the time it takes to raise & ship stuff. To read what all the hobbyists on this site have to say, they all make it sound like they want to breed their newts for the greater good of all of us. Ha! How many of them actually make it to the post office with animals they are sharing with anyone else (particularly animals they are sharing with anyone beyond their buddies?) The demand for these WC animals is coming from people beyond our "buddy list" (including the rich idiots who buy them to toss into their fish tank), and until we can produce enough offspring to satisfy that demand, we can't do a darned thing about it.

I wish it were otherwise... and I DARE you all to prove me wrong by breeding and cheaply selling a ton of these critters!
As always you are a siren of truth, and right on! Thank you for the reality check!

-jbherpin-



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Old 20th April 2009   #50
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Default Re: Neurergus kaiseri prices

I find myself siding with Nate on this matter. I mean, come on people, we might be able to save this species from extinction in the wild if we don't grab for the cash on the offspring. Lower the price and make it unprofitable for those monkeys to collect from the wild. That was an insult to monkeys.

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Originally Posted by nate View Post
If they could collect more at a time, of course they would.
Quote:
Originally Posted by nate View Post
To the buying public or the collectors who go to Iran? Of course the price is what makes them attractive to the collectors.
Your knowledge of the numbers makes me think that you either know or could find out who these people doing the collecting are. If so, please let me know privately and I'll make the details very public.



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Old 20th April 2009   #51
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Default Re: Neurergus kaiseri prices

I fully agree that the prices of c/b must drop a lot to encourage the sales of the c/b specimens. If what Nate says is true that the age of the w/c animals is lower then before, then we will very likely have a very troublesome situation on our hands.
Instead of blaming other people we should focus on what we, as a community can do. We must keep fighting to preserve the wild population, but if the situation is as grim as it's being pictured here, we should assume the worst. I think it's too late for pricedrops to influence the w/c market, simply because they will be sold anyways, because they are popular and people are not very patient to wait until another year to buy cheaper ones.

I think we should do 2 very important things now.
First of all we need to do whatever we can to stop this trade. I know Iran is not very friendly with the west at the moment, but we need to try it anyways. Maybe we can address an Iranian minister directly about this matter, althoug I have no idea who and how, I think this is a must. I think we can consider kaiseris as a national treasure of Iran, even though they are not fluffy. We simply can not afford to wait for politics to solve this, we as a community, must let our voice be heard as well.

The second this we should do is create an official breeding programme if there isn't one already. Everyone here that has them should be able to participate. I'm thinking of exchanging specimens and spread eggs. I don't think genetics are something we should be too concerned about, since the population in the wild apparently is só small it's likely that the gene pool in the hobby sector is bigger then the one in the wild.


Maybe my rant is a bit simplistic or even naive, but my core point is that we must act now, and not wait until others do it for us. If we are serious about saving this species we must act now.



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Old 20th April 2009   #52
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Default Re: Neurergus kaiseri prices

I am all for contacting Uncle Mahmoud but I have a feeling that might have implications regarding my residency in the US! So I'll have to leave that to someone else.



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Old 20th April 2009   #53
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Default Re: Neurergus kaiseri prices

All,

Iran is aware of the matter. People in USFW are aware of the matter. The IUCN certainly is aware. Things are in motion, but things like this take time. I just hope the mad grab for cash on WC and CB in the meantime does not extirpate them in the wild. So please, stop selling the cb for ridiculous prices. That, at least, is in our control.

I have no doubt that kaiseri will, in fact, be CITES I in the next 5 years, in which case, no one will be making any money off of them anymore. At least, not openly. When it happens, there may not be any left in the US public sector, because Iran does in fact, protect the species on paper and they have not ever issued an export permit for the species. This makes everyone's kaiseri in the US illegal, despite the 3-177, according to the Lacey Act. It also makes importing from Europe impossible, because there will be no paper trail to an Iranian export permit.

It will be interesting to see what USFW does with everyones animals. I personally doubt they grandfather anyone's newts...but who knows.



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Old 20th April 2009   #54
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Default Re: Neurergus kaiseri prices

HI all,

It is generally not get involved in mailings like this one but in this case, I would like to add some other noise. This will be a strange reaction for people who know me since I am an economic disaster.
Perhaps people should wonder WHY exactly a species like N kaiseri is in such demand. Of course this is a matter of personal opinion but: is it prettier than eg M alpestris, C orientalis, P chinensis, T shanjing? In my opinion: NO, it is however rarer and more expensive and thus to a lot of people highly attractive, some kind of status symbol. This is a very unfortunate conclusion. What is even more unfortunate is that for many (not all!) people, an animal that is obtained for free, is worthless. In the more than twenty years I have bred urodelans, I have given away plenty of T verrucosus, T shanjing, O vittatus, T carnifex etc and guess what, apart from the few people who really care, none of the animals given away for free survived until adulthood... Please try to explain to me: these hundreds of thousand of wildcaught animals, where did they all go (I am talking of all species now)? If every one showed responsibility, providing the best for their animals, all of these newts should live at least some 10 years of in many cases much more... where do they all go? I am afraid that most of them simply die, also (and especially) the cheap ones (which is in my opinion as a bad as a N kaiseri, definitely when of unknown population status). It is a very cynic statement but a high price protects an animal to a certain degree.
From another point of view: the people who pay these high prices confirm that there is a commercial need for WC kaiseri. I know I see things quite pessimistic but I would like to put a little prediction: if N kaiseri becomes very widespread in the hobby (hopefully by the numbers of captive bred offspring), I would not be surprised that interest in this species will drastically decline because it has become too common, not exclusive enough.
A final bitterness: a lot of drama concerning the natural populations of N kaiseri and indeed, it is very very worrying that these animals are exported (I don't think there is any need to take a single animal more from the wild) BUT, where are these concerns when species like T shanjing are involved or, even worse, Pachytriton species? Population status, if I am not mistaken, not known, mass exports still occurring (completely illegal if I am not mistaken for Tylototriton species, protected in China).



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Old 20th April 2009   #55
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Default Re: Neurergus kaiseri prices

Getting back to the topic: I have paid 50 euro for CB kaiseri back in the old days. And I still think this is a reasonable price. If you compare it with other exotics like poison dart frogs and turtles, this is even cheap.

In the Netherlands and Belgium CB species are still traded for very low prices or even given away. But I think the market will never be supplied, as way too many animals die along the way of reaching maturity. So even if you breed "simple" spieces like Triturus marmoratus or Triturus carnifex you can easily sell hundreds every year. And it is true, because the prices are low people will buy 20 instead of 10 and calculate already some loss in raising. And we create the new market ourselves. The exotic pet market is still growing, every year, so every year new people will start keeping newts with many losses of animals, although enough information is available here.

So let's just be honest: the problem is us, all of us. If you buy WC you are just greedy and not willing to wait for CB. If you buy CB there is still some blood on your hands as N. kaiseri has NEVER been imported legally. The species is protected in Iran. But at least you can say that it didn't damage the wild populations anymore. If all newbees would start with CB instead of WC for all salamanders and newts, the pet market would collapse.

For WC small scale export by private hands is the least damaging to the wild populations if then they are put into a proper studbook program. Problem is that most of these private imports are pretty large, because the traders themselves are not willing to breed this species, but go for direct money. If only 20 animals would be taken and bred properly, this in theory can be enough, but one has to wait...for a few years, of even for some decades. And that's the tricky part, most of us don't want to wait.

I am currently breeding a species that is extremely rare and much wanted, and if all goes well I will probably do both ways:
- some will be given to experienced breeders for no money at all
- others will be sold for high prices
All animals will be registered in a stud book and I want to monitor every single animal. Let's see what is the best way of keeping these animals in captivity.



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Old 20th April 2009   #56
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Default Re: Neurergus kaiseri prices

P.s. a species like Cynops ensicauda is also endangered, has not be imported for years, but is still bred fairly easy and therefor very available...but breeders can't get rid of them. Easy availability makes is less interesting... I agree wiht Frank.



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Old 20th April 2009   #57
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Default Re: Neurergus kaiseri prices

I do hope everyone in the hobby is reading this thread. The posts by Nate, Ralf, Danny, Damien, Frank, and Serge are important reading. For me, the post by Frank is especially poignant. I know the feeling of giving animals away and knowing they either never made it to adulthood or didn't result in a "next generation" that was shared with others. And meanwhile, in come more WC...

Quote:
Originally Posted by damien View Post
we must act now, and not wait until others do it for us. If we are serious about saving this species we must act now.
I have two propositions for those of you in the USA:

1. I am posting a "wanted" ad right now. I suspect there are US breeders out there with kaiseri eggs/larvae in excess of what you can raise. If anyone will give/sell me eggs or larvae, I will raise them and sell them on kingsnake at a low price. I have the capacity and experience to raise a lot of them, and I'm crazy enough to do this. For more information, see my ad in the Wanted area.
http://www.caudata.org/forum/showthread.php?p=187447

2. If you have your own eggs/larvae/morphs that you are raising, please band together with me to offer the animals on kingsnake. There are some things that we can do as a "coalition" that we couldn't do individually. Send me an e-mail or PM if you want details.



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Old 20th April 2009   #58
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Lightbulb Re: Neurergus kaiseri prices

Anyone that is a HOBBYIEST for these crazy animals we love usually goes through the same stages:
> Usually running into newts in a pet shop and deciding to keep them.

> Getting more advanced, figuring out how to do a really good job at caring for their animals finding out about the other species.

> Then they start to aquire some of these rarer species....maybe $100+ species.

> Then the enjoyment, and hard work, of breeding them, giving the keeper the ability to trade for yet more things and providing them the opportunity to sell some surplus.

By the time you are breeding you have invested tons of time and money into the hobby. These breeders should be rewarded for their time and effort...especially the first wave of them. There isn't any other way to get these beautiful animals out to other hobbyiests...certainly not captive bred ones anyway. Ultimately all captive bred efforts started with wild caught animals, but successful breeding should reduce the pressure on the wild populations. This site should be the front runner in that effort. The first waves of high cost captive bred animals should then lead to trades, give aways, and lower costs. The next thing you know many of us are enjoying these animals and surplus is relatively cheap.



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Old 20th April 2009   #59
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Default Re: Neurergus kaiseri prices

$100+ is reasonable for these beautiful animals. The breeders that have put the time and effort into creating a captive bred stock should be applauded and rewarded. Now that there are some stock available we will have the ability to trade, give away, and sell at low cost. Hopefully captive bred animals will reduce the pressure on the wild populations. But it's all due to the EXPENSE, time, and effort of the breeders that made the investment. Reward these folks that have given us the opportunity.
Thanks



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Old 20th April 2009   #60
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Default Re: Neurergus kaiseri prices

Nate-

I certainly don't have any problem with your strategy, I am just a doubter. However so long as other routes of legal protection are being actively pursued, I'm all for you flooding the market with dirt cheap kaiseri. You know way more about this species than I do, and if you think it can be done, that's great. I missed the part about no animals imported in 2008.

I'll send you a PM in a bit, got lots of ABMers to entertain right now. If you have the capability to breed these things like mad, I'd say convince the zoo and AZA that this is the conservation strategy to pursue and accomplish it using zoo staff and expertise. Would probably be easier to scale it up in an institution than with a loose network of hobbyists (though dedicated and supportive hobbyists could certainly contribute as well).

-Tim



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