CALL FOR SCIENTIFIC INFORMATION

As USARK announced, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has reopened the comment period on its proposal to list as “injurious” under the Lacey Act five of the species of constrictor snakes that were not included in the 2012 listing of the Burmese python and others. Specifically, these species are: Reticulated python (Python reticulatus), DeSchauensee’s anaconda (Eunectes deschauenseei), Green anaconda (Eunectes murinus), Beni anaconda (Eunectes beniensis), and Boa constrictor (Boa constrictor: all subspecies). The information submitted will be evaluated by FWS. They may finalize the rule and may list some, all or none of these five species.

USARK will be preparing detailed comments on the economic, social, conservation, legal, and scientific issues relevant to the proposed listing. We are calling on our partners in the research and academic community to provide new and relevant information USARK can provide FWS to assist in its determination of whether these species are, in fact, injurious within the Lacey Act’s meaning. Any information since 2010, which was the last comment period, will be beneficial.

Relevant information includes the following:
  • Scientific reports or studies relevant to the question of any non-native constricting snake’s ability to become established or extend their range in the U.S. published since August 2010;
  • Studies relating to any of these five species describing the habitat requirements, physiology, biology, or other factors potentially relevant to the question of their ability to become established and spread in the U.S.;
  • Information relevant to the residual population of boa constrictors established on the Deering Estate, including information on first establishment, factors explaining the population’s failure to expand, ecological conditions on the Estate, etc.;
  • Scientific reports or studies relating to the relative merits of climate matching, ecological niche modeling, and other scientific methods for predicting the ability of non-native species to become established in a new environment (including the effects of using mean temperature versus temperature extremes on model performance) published since August 2010;
  • Critiques of Reed and Rodda (2008) (Giant Constrictors: Biological and Management Profiles and an Establishment Risk Assessment for Nine Large Species of Pythons, Anacondas, and the Boa Constrictor, USGS Open File Report 2009–1202); Reed and Rodda (2009) (What parts of the US mainland are climatically suitable for invasive alien pythons spreading from Everglades National Park? Biol Inv 11:241–252); or other like reports published since August 2010;
  • Information can be in the form of citations or bibliographies of relevant research, although a brief description of the report’s conclusions or relevance to the listing issues would be appreciated. Copies of particularly relevant reports or studies, such as new critiques of Reed and Rodda, climate matching/ecological niche studies pertaining directly to constricting snakes, or information pertaining to any of the five species’ ability to become established in the U.S., would be very much appreciated. USARK would like to incorporate such information directly into its comment letter.
Information can be submitted and questions addressed to USARK at info@USARK.org or USARK’s counsel, Shaun Gehan at sgehan@kelleydrye.com. Thank you very much for your prompt attention to this important matter.

Information regarding the comment period can be found at www.usark.org/2014-blog/constrictor-rule-1.

Constrictor Rule Comment Reopens
Request an Extension for Comment Now

Deadline is July 24: Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is taking additional comments regarding listing five species of snakes (Boa constrictor, Reticulated python, DeSchauensee’s anaconda, Green anaconda and Beni anaconda) as injurious under the Lacey Act. These species were originally proposed in 2010. If listed, FWS would ban interstate transportation/commerce and importation. Remember to be professional and civil with your comments.

At this time, everyone should send a first round of comments requesting an extension of the comment period. These can be relatively simple and Talking Points are below. The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC) will also be requesting an extension. All affected groups, businesses and individuals are encouraged to do the same. FWS has allowed only 30 days for comment, which is inadequate.

Comments must be submitted at www.regulations.gov/#!submitComment;D=FWS-R9-FHC-2008-0015-4570 or by visiting www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=FWS-R9-FHC-2008-0015-4570 and clicking Comment Now! in the upper right.

Comments by U.S. mail:
Public Comments Processing
Attn: Docket No. FWS–R9–FHC–2008–0015
Division of Policy and Directives Management
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
4401 N. Fairfax Drive, Suite 222
Arlington, VA 22203

The letter for an extension of the comment period by USARK can be viewed at www.usark.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/USARK_Request_for_Extension.pdf.

USARK Talking Points for Extension Request
  • A significant amount of time has passed since the last opportunity for public comment closed in 2010.
  • Substantial new biological and economic information has become available since the end of the last comment period.
  • The proposed listings will have severe educational, economic, conservation and scientific impacts, and therefore adequate time for submissions is necessary.
  • Tens of thousands of responsible pet keepers will also be negatively affected.
  • Reptile owners are a diverse group, so extra time is needed to ensure that all concerns are heard. This is particularly true for military service members.
The Federal Register announcement can be viewed at www.usark.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/Constrictor-Rule-Register-6.24.14.pdf.

RAACA Raffle

The raffle ends July 4th and one person will win over $35,000 in prizes! Buy tickets and check out what you can win at www.raaca.net. Also, be sure to visit and join the Reptile And Amphibian Charity Auction (RAACA) page at www.facebook.com/groups/RAACAUCTIONS to stay updated and get some intermittent comic relief. A huge thank you to all involved from USARK, including Jordan Russell, Myke Clarkson, Houssam Istanbouli and the sponsors: Freedom Breeder, BHB Reptiles, The Reptile Shop, SC Constrictors, The Boaphile (Jeff Ronne), TSK Feeders and Herp Nation Media.

Daytona National Reptile Breeders' Expo

This show celebrates it's 25th anniversary in 2014! It happens August 15-17 in Daytona, FL. Thanks to show promoter Wayne Hill, the NRBE auction has raised $100,000 to benefit USARK. NRBE auctions have benefited many other organizations and conservation efforts, too. Get more details at www.reptilebreedersexpo.com.

International Herpetological Symposium (IHS)

The 37th IHS hits Riverside, CA on July 16-19. This event includes talks from noted herpers including Bill Love, Russ Gurley, Sean Bush, Jeff Lemm, Jim Harrison, Brian Barczyk and many others. This year will also include a chance to visit the L.A. Zoo and field-herping opportunities. Get all the details at www.internationalherpetologicalsymposium.com and Like their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/InternationalHerpetologicalSymposium.

Reptile Super Show

It will be here soon! The Reptile Super Show is July 12-13 at the Concourse/Civic Center in downtown San Diego, CA. The USARK benefit auction is Saturday night at 6:30. This is one of the largest shows of 2014. Come join in the fun of the Reptile Super Show and show your support for USARK. Thank you to Ramy and the Super Show crew for your continued support. Get show details at www.reptilesupershow.com/san-diego.

Other News/Events

Midwest Herpetological Symposium: October 17-19 in Indianapolis, IN.  Discount for registration before Sept. 1. Get more details at www.hoosierherpsoc.org/pdf/SymposiumBrochure.pdf.

National Amphibian Expo: August 9 in Indianapolis, IN. Get more details at www.naexpo.org/show and buy shirts at www.teespring.com/naexpo.

Reptile Super Show: August 9-10 in Pomona, CA. Get more details at www.reptilesupershow.com/los-angeles.

Click to purchase tickets and get more information.

Article written by USARK