Deadline to comment is November 17, 2015.
The United States Fish and Wildlife Service is reviewing fourteen species of native herps for potential listings under the Endangered Species Act. Conservation efforts are critical for our native species, and others worldwide, as human expansion, habitat loss and pollution continue to decimate populations. These listings also have an impact on the interstate trade and exportation of these species. Established captive breeding populations, which do not contribute to extinction of species, should be recognized.
Most species proposed are not commonly kept in captivity. Comments including information from those living where these species are found may prove to be very helpful, both with listing decisions and future conservation efforts.
Captive populations have long since replaced the wild-caught animals once seen in commerce. These populations should be recognized as many dedicated hobbyists have been breeding species for many years, or even decades. Many have even contributed to conservation and reintroduction efforts.
FWS has authority to recognize captive populations and exclude them from other restrictions under ESA through the 4(d) rule. However, they must be made aware of these captive populations and the effects of listings. They must hear from stakeholders.
Conservation is crucial. ESA listings impact the commercial trade and captive populations of these animals, too. USFWS should hear from those keeping and breeding these species so they are aware captive populations exist. As habitat is destroyed due to human expansion, captive populations may be all that exist for some species in the near future. In addition, many species have not been collected from the wild for many years or already have protections in place. Restricting trade on these species will greatly inhibit the gene pool of captive populations and cause sustainable breeding to die off, too.
We cannot emphasize enough the importance of being civil and professional at all times. At no time should crude language, partial sentences, bad grammar, etc. be included with comments. Never be afraid to submit comments, but simply supply good material. These can be heated issues, but composure is essential. Comments should illustrate the importance of conservation, while pointing out the benefits of captive populations, as well.
List of herps and links to comment with additional information:
Cascade torrent salamander FWS-R1-ES-2015-0080 http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=FWS-R1-ES-2015-0080
Columbia torrent salamander FWS-R1-ES-2015-0083 http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=FWS-R1-ES-2015-0083
Florida pine snake FWS-R4-ES-2015-0086 http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=FWS-R4-ES-2015-0086
Inyo Mountains salamander FWS-R8-ES-2015-0092 http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=FWS-R8-ES-2015-0092
Kern Plateau salamander FWS-R8-ES-2015-0093 http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=FWS-R8-ES-2015-0093
Lesser slender salamander FWS-R8-ES-2015-0097 http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=FWS-R8-ES-2015-0097
Limestone salamander FWS-R8-ES-2015-0099 http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=FWS-R8-ES-2015-0099
Panamint alligator lizard FWS-R8-ES-2015-0105 http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=FWS-R8-ES-2015-0105
Peaks of Otter salamander FWS-R5-ES-2015-0106 http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=FWS-R5-ES-2015-0106
Shasta salamander FWS-R8-ES-2015-0115 http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=FWS-R8-ES-2015-0115
Short-tailed snake FWS-R4-ES-2015-0116 http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=FWS-R4-ES-2015-01165
Southern rubber boa FWS-R8-ES-2015-0119 http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=FWS-R8-ES-2015-0119
Wood turtle FWS-R5-ES-2015-0122 http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=FWS-R5-ES-2015-0122
Yuman desert fringe-toed lizard FWS-R2-ES-2015-0124 http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=FWS-R2-ES-2015-0124
Useful information for compiling comments:
- Mention any regulations that are already protecting these species;
- Any breeding successes, even if ex situ, should be highlighted;
- Discuss the success of captive propagation efforts by hobbyists and/or zoos;
- Give a sense of the current market and market history;
- Speak on captive breeding efforts by those truly concerned with preserving the species;
- Explain the most significant conservation programs for the species, particularly those that aren't mentioned elsewhere in government documentation;
- For example, reintroductions into the wild of domestic captive bred animals;
- Funding or other support for conservation efforts from private keepers, particularly with governmental, official, or academic agencies or groups in that country;
- Sharing of information on breeding techniques with conservationists;
- Research helpful to conservation of the species in the wild (e.g., combatting disease)
- Collaboration between private keepers and accredited institutions, especially for genetic diversity.
Below are some questions that can be answered:
- How many breeders work with these species?
- How many clutches/offspring are produced annually?
- What is the retail price for babies/adults?
- How much money is raised for conservation efforts for these species?
- What year did keepers become successful maintaining these species (i.e. wild caught animals kept successfully for over 1 year)?
- What year was someone successful breeding and hatching these species?
- When was the first book/care sheet written?
- Is there any cooperation between hobbyists and zoos with breeding these species?
- If applicable, when did trade in wild species end?
- Provide any other supplementary information that may be valuable.