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Imports of Four Constrictor Snakes Banned Due to Environmental Concerns

Thursday, January 19, 2012
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

The Fish and Wildlife Service has finalized a rule that will ban the importation and interstate transportation of four nonnative constrictor snakes that threaten the Everglades and other sensitive U.S. ecosystems, according to a Jan. 17 agency press release. This rule lists the Burmese python, the yellow anaconda, and the northern and southern African pythons as injurious wildlife under the Lacey Act.

The rule will take effect 60 days after it is published in the Federal Register, which is expected within the next few days, and will apply to live individuals, gametes, viable eggs or hybrids of the covered species. However, the press release notes that most people who own any of these four species will not be affected. Those who wish to export them may do so from a designated port within their state after acquiring appropriate permits from the FWS.

The FWS will also continue to consider listing as injurious the five other species of nonnative snakes that it proposed in 2010: reticulated python, boa constrictor, DeSchauensee’s anaconda, green anaconda and Beni anaconda.

Under the Lacey Act, a species of wildlife can be listed as injurious because it has been demonstrated to be harmful or have the potential to be harmful to the health and welfare of humans, the interests of forestry, agriculture or horticulture, or the welfare and survival of wildlife or the resources upon which wildlife depend. The listing of the species as injurious under the Lacey Act means that its importation and interstate transport are prohibited without an FWS permit. Injurious species may not be transported into or through U.S. territories or states. Permits may be granted for the importation or transportation of live specimens of injurious wildlife for scientific, medical, educational or zoological purposes.

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