Deadline to comment June 9 (11:59 PM EST)
USARK submitted our comment regarding the potential listing of the Egyptian tortoise under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). You can read our comment at www.usark.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Egyptian-tortoise-comment-USARK.pdf. USARK fully supports conservation efforts. In an age when habitat destruction, human overpopulation and pollution are by far the main factors leading to the extinction of species, captive populations must be recognized as these species may have no suitable or safe home habitat left.
A core component of USARK's mission is conservation. This is often accomplished through educational programs that involve captive animals and assurance colonies. These programs and experiences offer many people their only connection to wildlife, especially as our society becomes more urbanized and children spend less time in nature. Hands-on interactions with reptiles, including those kept as pets, teach us about empathy, responsibility, and stewardship of the creatures with whom we share this world. USARK and our members promote these values through our work on captive propagation and education.
Listing species under ESA without consideration for domestically-bred populations can end genetic diversity and the future of these animals being bred. This species, as well as the recently petitioned Spider tortoises, are no longer imported into the U.S. and are protected under CITES and other regulations in their home ranges. ESA can be very effective for native species, but can actually be harmful for ex situ conservation ("off-site conservation") efforts of non-native species. Without the ability to move animal across state lines because it is now illegal, captive breeding efforts by dedicated herpetologists and accredited institutions are often ended. This may occur due to inability of getting proper sex ratios or attaining proper genetic diversity.
Background on issue: FWS was petitioned to list the Egyptian, or Kleinmann's, tortoise (Testudo kleinmanni) as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act. All information can be found at www.usark.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Egyptian-Tortoise-ESA-4.10.15.pdf (see page 3).
The comment deadline is June 9. Comments can be made by clicking "Submit a Formal Comment" at www.federalregister.gov/articles/2015/04/10/2015-07837/endangered-and-threatened-wildlife-and-plants-90-day-findings-on-10-petitions. A breakdown on data requested can be found on page 1 and 2 under "Request for Information" at the link (www.usark.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Egyptian-Tortoise-ESA-4.10.15.pdf).
Please use the USARK comment to help author your own comment regarding the Egyptian tortoise.
Washoe County, Nevada ALERT
View more details at www.usark.org/2015-blog/washoe-county-nevada-alert/
Washoe County, Nevada is holding the first hearing to discuss amendments to County Code Chapter 55 regarding animals on June 9, 2015. Concerned Washoe County residents should call and email County Commissioners to request a workshop to be sure the voices of the exotic animal and pet communities are heard.
County officials have not been receptive of the information provided by experts and those who actually work with these animals. There is a strong animal rights undertone to these amendments and proposed future actions. Locals report that animal rights groups are pushing their agenda and all pet owners should be vigilant and involved. Do not let animal rights groups make our laws!
Any communications with officials should request a workshop with an outside moderator so that the input of the exotic animal community will be heard. Remember to be professional and civil at all times!
Information for making donations online and via check/money order can be found at www.usark.org/reptile-defense-fund-2/. You can make one-time, weekly, monthly or annual donations. You can also include a message that will be posted on the Legal Defense Fund Donor Wall at www.usark.org/usark-announcement/reptile-defense-donor-wall/ for all to see. You can even choose to make your donation or donation amount anonymous. Thanks for your support as we battle FWS to restore the freedoms of the Reptile Nation.
Join RAACA 2.0 Today!
There is a new anytime RAACA! Check out the format for listing auctions to benefit USARK via RAACA USARK Auctions at www.facebook.com/groups/1623588901209232/. These auctions will allow donations at any time and not just during fundraiser events. Anyone can bid, donate and support the Reptile Nation!
The new RAACA USARK Auctions have raised over $2,600. Thank you, RAACA, Jordan, Tammy, Houssam, Christine, donors and all the admins in this group!