Tarantula and Exotic Pet Keeper Comments Needed

Help make USFWS aware of pet keepers: Deadline 2/3/14

Attention tarantula and exotic pet owners. Please support the entire exotic pet community:

USFWS is asking if YOU keep Poecilotheria! Please take a second and hit the link below and let them know two things; first that you have Poecilotheria and secondly that you’d like to keep them legal for sale. If you’re feeling spunky, let them also know if you’re an active breeder. No need to leave your name on the site.

Get a voice, let them know how many strong the hobby is. Do you want to know you could have said something if our animals are banned down the road?!

If you do nothing else, please go to the comments site and say something such as:

“Regardless of ESA listing of one or more species, please provide for the exemption of captive bred animals from the possession and interstate sales regulation.”

There is also a sample comment from Ryan McVeigh at the bottom of this page.

Comment at http://www.regulations.gov/#!submitComment;D=FWS-HQ-ES-2013-0107-0001 (Deadline is 2/3/14).

You can view sample comments at http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketBrowser;rpp=25;po=0;dct=PS;D=FWS-HQ-ES-2013-0107

You can view a summary at http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=FWS-HQ-ES-2013-0107-0001

This is a request for facts concerning the economics, keeping and breeding of many Poecilotheria species to be submitted to the United State Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) regarding the Endangered Species Act (ESA) petition to list 11 species (P. fasciata; P. formosa; P. hanumavilasumica; P. metallica; P. miranda; P. ornata; P. pederseni; P. rufilata; P. smithi; P. striata; and P. subfusca). The petition can be reviewed at this link and is only concerned with those 11 species.

http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=FWS-HQ-ES-2013-0107-0002

The Petition process for ESA listing includes a 90 day Public Comment period which ends February 3rd, 2014. The facts requested by the USFWS regarding ESA listing of these 11 species are quite specific. Please feel free to review what information is requested at the .pdf file link below. Opinions or commentary outside the requested information is not used and may be deleterious to our efforts to maintain Poecilotheria with our captive bred hobby.

http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2013-12-03/pdf/2013-28553.pdf

In short, to demonstrate our hobby does not require wild caught individuals to maintain it, we suggest hobbyists to provide the following information on a species by species basis if possible:

1) Numbers of total animals you have owned of the concerned species (using the current USFWS nomenclature).
2) Total number of breeding attempts you have made per species.
3) Total number successful eggsacs you have produced and total number of spiderlings produced.
4) Total monetary values associated with these species including sales, purchases, and maintenance/supplies.

By combining the requested information via the .pdf file with the below URL on “Tips for Submitting Effective Comments”, we can provide the best information available to the USFWS about our hobby. For those who are zoo personnel, arachnologists/entomologists, or biologists, please feel free to provide your expert commentary above and beyond that requested here.

http://www.regulations.gov/docs/Tips_For_Submitting_Effective_Comments.pdf

Comments should be made via the link below or to the physical address listed on the link below. This final link also provides a summary of the requested information. As a hobby, we can provide information on domestic populations, active breeding within the hobby which demonstrate no strains on the wild and native populations.

http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=FWS-HQ-ES-2013-0107-0001

Please remember this is a process, one which requires INFORMATION and FACTS. This is not a form letter equating to an opinion poll, this is not a vote for or against the ESA listing of these species. Only facts are beneficial in any way. All comments may be reviewed here:

http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketBrowser;rpp=25;po=0;dct=PS;D=FWS-HQ-ES-2013-0107

The ESA listing process and the impact on the US hobby could easily take five years. ESA listing of one or more of the 11 species could result in the cessation of all interstate travel of the species under review, effectively removing these species from the hobby. There is no possible way to predict what could happen, so it is our best interest to demonstrate responsible care and propagation of these priceless organisms.

Please comment, even if no numbers of animals are reported, comments about maintaining ownership and sales matter. If you do nothing else, please go to the comments site and say something such as:

“Regardless of ESA listing of one or more species, please provide for the exemption of captive bred animals from the possession and interstate sales regulation.”

Any questions regarding this request may be sent to poecilotheriaesa2014@gmail.com before the Febuary 3rd deadline. This is an informational email only, not a USFWS
submission email.

*Note to dealers: All comments are public record. Please provide information to your comfort level as sales can be a sensitive subject.

*Professionals who would like to offer further input are invited to follow the requested information guidelines. It would be especially informative from those who have visited India or Sri Lanka and have firsthand accounts as current data is very limiting. Zoo personnel who know of active breeding of these species are also encouraged to provide that information.

Basically a month of blowing up social media and the invert forums has resulted in less than 30 comments. Regardless of listing or not, it’s important that the USFWS know the tarantula keepers exist. This might be the difference between keeping the captive animals unregulated or not.

Thank you for the rapid reply! – Christian Elowsky (President of the American Tarantula Society)

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Sample Comment from Ryan McVeigh

While I find it imperative to protect all species on this planet that have dwindling and endangered populations, legislation such as this does VERY little to help. These animals in the wild are having their habitat threatened due to interactions with humans due to expanding communities crossing over into their native habitat. While at some time many were collected for the pet trade or zoos, this simply isn’t the case any more. These animals are being bred in captivity in numbers great enough to supply the pet, scientific, and zoological communities. By adding animals such as this to the Endangered Species Act, you take away the ability for captive breeders to trade bloodlines and continue to keep the captive population as genetically diverse as possible, an important aspect of keeping a healthy captive population. While I would like to see these animals provided with more protection, it needs to be done in their native range, not within our country. Unfortunately, there are far too many examples where the ESA has been ineffective in actually helping populations of endangered animals and more often ends up being detrimental to them, such as this where it impedes captive breeding and captive populations of an animal. If you were to add them to the ESA, I would suggest an exemption of captive bred animals from the possession and interstate sales regulation. I think it would be inverse to the success of this species to make captive breeding difficult or impossible. Thank you for your time.

Article written by USARK