Arkansas Action Alert

Remember to be civil and professional when contacting the Commission!

UPDATE 2/20/19: The proposal was approved and received a passing vote from the Commissioners today. As passed, this new regulation will alleviate many issues and concerns that herpers and other animal keepers have had for many years in Arkansas. The new regulation allows Arkansas residents until July 1, 2020, to submit applications for Wildlife Breeder/Dealer and Venomous Reptile Possession Permits.

Stakeholders should continue to work with AGFC regarding species to be reviewed. The current list of species in the review queue can be found at

A Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document should be released soon. If you have immediate questions or would like AGFC to review certain species (be sure to review the queue above first), you may contact AGFC via email at

The proposal is expected to be voted on at the February 20-21 Commission meeting.

The February 7 public meeting was recorded and can be watched at

UPDATE 1/17/19: The draft proposal linked below was introduced and had its first reading. It may have a final reading and vote at the February 21 Commissioner meeting. All stakeholders should continue to contact the Commissioners and AGFC Staff with their opposition.

UPDATE 1/10/19: AGFC has released their updated proposal draft.

LINK 1 to AGFC Summary:

LINK 2 Full Text of Proposal with tiered lists beginning on page 40:

UPDATE 10/17/18: After hearing from speakers, including USARK President Phil Goss, the Commissioners approved a motion to delay the final vote on this proposal until the Commission meeting on January 17, 2019. The temporary moratorium on the importation of venomous reptiles was extended 90 days.

LINK to full proposal:

LINK to AGFC's summary:

Summary of Changes

  1. A three-tiered system consisting of three species lists: Unrestricted, Permitted, and Prohibited. Any species not found on a list must be requested for review by AGFC before importation is allowed.
  2. Unrestricted list: (NOTE: USARK is opposed to the compilation of an unrestricted species list, a concept also referred to as a “white list.” By default, any species not on the permitted and prohibited lists should be considered unrestricted; attempting to list all of the unrestricted species is rife with unintended consequences, and an unnecessary exercise in futility. The concept of having an unrestricted species definition, meaning species not listed as permitted or prohibited, is just fine. It is the compiling and indexing of a white list of over 2,000 species which is problematic.)
    • • Exempt from Wildlife Breeder/Dealer Permit.
    • • Exempt from Wildlife Importation Permit.
  3. Permitted list:
    • • Require Wildlife Breeder/Dealer Permit.
    • • Require Wildlife Importation Permit.
  4. Prohibited list:
    • • Permits for the breeding, sale, or importation of these species will not be issued;
    • • Possession is only allowed for animals that are grandfathered (registered by the deadline);
    • • There are some exemptions including AZA-accredited facilities.
  5. All U.S. native box turtles are listed as prohibited (Genus Terrapene), as they have been for years. This is an effort to protect the indigenous Arkansas turtles but also would prevent all responsible breeding and importation of animals born under human care. Anyone opposed to full prohibition should comment on this point.
  6. New regulation for “Medically Significant Venomous Reptile Species.” See the full regulation and species list at the bottom of this page.
    • • Briefly: A permit is required to keep these species. The permit is $75 and expires on June 30th each year.
    • • Facilities housing these species must be inspected by AGFC and must meet caging standards and other requirements.
  7. New definition of WILDLIFE – All wild birds, mammals, fish, reptiles, amphibians and other wild aquatic forms, and all other wild animals, regardless of classification, whether resident, migratory or imported, protected or unprotected, dead or alive, and shall extend to and include any and every part of any individual species of wildlife, including animals living in a captive status. NOTE: Fish are not regulated under this code.
  8. A Wildlife Importation Permit will not be required for residents to return legally owned wildlife originating in Arkansas that has been out of the state for less than 30 days.
  9. "Persons may sell or transfer up to twenty (20) individual wildlife specimens per calendar year that were acquired from a permitted Wildlife Breeder/Dealer or imported with a valid Wildlife Importation Permit provided each sale or transfer is registered with the Commission. Registered wildlife may be subsequently sold or transferred in accordance with the preceding sentence." In other words, residents can buy/sell up to twenty animals annually without a Breeder/Dealer Permit if those animals originate within Arkansas from a permitted breeder/dealer or are accompanied by Importation Permits and the transfers are registered with the Commission.