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Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans: A review of policy responses in North America


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Presented by James Lewis of the Amphibian Survival Alliance on 11 August 2015 in Asheville, North Carolina, USA.

Published in: Environment
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Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans: A review of policy responses in North America

  1. 1. Review of Policy Actions James P. Lewis, ASA Director of Operations Peter Jenkins, Center for Invasive Species Prevention
  2. 2. Where it all started October 2014 – Martel Paper
  3. 3. Global Wildlife Conservation The Biodiversity Group Conservation International Center for Biological Diversity Defenders of Wildlife Fauna & Flora International Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History International Society for the Study and Conservation of Amphibians Meet Your Neighbours Detroit Zoological Society Herpetological League Insituexsitu Amphibiaweb Amphibian Ark Conserve It Forward Wildlife Conservation Society Inaturalist The Wandering Herpetologist And many other groups…… Call for action Letters sent to USFWS TX 78767 USA Page 1 November 17, 2014 Dan Ashe, Director U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Department of the Interior 1849 C St NW Washington, DC 20240 Re: Urgent request to protect native salamanders Dear Director Ashe, This is an urgent request on behalf of the Amphibian Survival Alliance (ASA) and the undersigned partners for you to protect America’s salamanders by taking action against a well-documented emerging and deadly wildlife disease, Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (or Bsal), which so far has not arrived in the USA. As the world’s largest partnership dedicated to amphibian conservation, the ASA is supported by many of the world’s leading conservation organizations and research institutions. This network positions us uniquely to help advise on the implementation of a broad range of conservation strategies, and we offer our assistance to the Service in helping to address the significant issue. We ask you to use every possible authority to achieve this, with particular focus on the Lacey Act and the Endangered Species Act (ESA). We note that the ESA Sec. 7(a)(1) directs: “The Secretary [of the Interior] shall review other programs administered by him and utilize such programs in furtherance of the purposes of this Act.” Your agency administers the wildlife import inspection and compliance programs at the nation’s ports of entry. Through these programs the Secretary of the Interior exercises authority over imports of all live salamanders. In view of this major new import-related threat to the many ESA-listed Threatened and Endangered salamander species, we urge you to manage these programs to ensure that Bsal and other diseases are kept out of the nation. We recommend that your agency promptly suspend all imports of any salamander or newt. Then, promptly develop a program of only allowing imports that are certified by the Service as free of Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans and other deadly salamander pathogens or parasites. Such certification could be based on verified clean sources, reliable testing, treatment, quarantine or other measures; the precise approach will require expert design and review. The number of animal import businesses that deal in salamanders is small; they should be supportive of measures that ensure their shipments are certified to not carry a potentially devastating disease. ne avenue to achieve a more comprehensive amphibian disease prevention approach could be by the Service positively to the Defenders of Wildlife 2009 Petition: “To List All Live Amphibians in Trade as e of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis,” The Service has already taken public comment on response would need to be broader than the scope of that Petition. The Service
  4. 4. The Ask The focus of the request to USFWS has been the implementation of a clean trade program including an Order-wide moratorium on the importation of salamanders until such time as an effective screening program can be implemented.
  5. 5. Lacey Act The Lacey Act addresses illegal wildlife trade to protect species at risk and bars importing species found to be injurious to the United States. Today it regulates the import of any species protected by international or domestic law and prevents the spread of invasive, or non- native, species.
  6. 6. The Pet Trade Early engagement a key part of any likely success
  7. 7. The Trade •  Salamanders represented 5.5% of the amphibians imported into the USA •  95% of imports belong to Cynops, Paramesotriton, Salamandra, and Tylototriton. •  All contain at least one species known to be susceptible to Bsal •  Cynops and Paramesotriton comprise >90% of U.S. imported salamanders, hence these genera may be the greatest threat. Gray et al. unpublished
  8. 8. Policy Overview -  Concerted attention brought to USFWS officials -  Agency wants to act but there are challenges -  Rulemaking soon? Expect delays -  The Big Question - Will the scope/coverage be broad enough to work?
  9. 9. Advocacy - Continued pressure on the Administration to act - If no Proposed Rule by 9/15 target date, ramp up the advocacy - Join Bsal Team coordinating email list if you can engage in concerted advocacy: contact:
  10. 10. Back Home National Representative and Senator Press outreach and making it into the news
  11. 11. Further support “A moratorium on importation of Bsal- susceptible salamanders should be put into place until such time as effective testing and treatment regimens have been developed,” Robert Likins, the PIJAC’s council’s director of governmental affairs, wrote in an email. Unusual trade regulation case with Bsal, because strong support from regulated industry: (NY Times, 7/30/15)
  12. 12. Review of Policy Actions Longer term: -  Whether amphibians, bats, snakes, birds or other groups, the national wildlife health protections are completely inadequate. -  We must get new law passed for faster and more comprehensive response to the next wildlife pathogen crisis. -  We have good model in the USDA health protection laws for farm animals. -  We are working on it: funding is needed to pass new law
  13. 13. In Canada The Canadian government is actively working to reduce the risk of Bsal introduction through import control Environment Canada is exploring emergency measures The Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative leading national surveillance and education
  14. 14. In Mexico Scientists in Mexico and the USA are collaborating with laboratory experiments to test the susceptibility of their native salamander species to Bsal
  15. 15. Final thoughts Clean trade is our top priority NOT a Ban
  16. 16. Thank You Text text text text
  17. 17. Questions?