Invasive Wildlife Bill Reintroduced!

You might remember me covering this bill before–it’s now The Nonnative Wildlife Invasion Prevention Act (H.R. 669).  Currently, species may be imported unless declared “injurious” under the Lacey Act–which can only happen after an animal has caused demonstrable harm.

A few highlights from an Ecological Society of America Press Release:

  • The bill would establish a new risk assessment process in which the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) would evaluate the risk posed by nonnative species before allowing them into the country.
  • H.R. 669 therefore represents a key shift from reactive to proactive policy, allowing FWS to stop nonnative species invasions in many cases before they begin. (emphasis mine)

If you’d like to know more about the costs and impacts of invasive species, The ESA issued a position paper  in 2006 (PDF).  Listing the thousands of invasive species that cost an estimated $138 Billion/year in control and damage would take too long–I’ll just invite you to surf around and note how many pests were imported as food, pets, or garden ornamentals.

Fairly predictably, owners of exotic pets are (again) sounding an alarm.

As I stated last time: This law will regulate new introductions of species. Not species that are already established here in the US. It also calls for a “white list” of already introduced exotics that may be continued to be imported, since they are judged to not be harmful, or have potential to be harmful.

No one will come and grab your snake.

Exotic plants and animals are interesting, beautiful creatures, and lots of fun to own. But they can also, despite our best intentions, escape and become terribly destructive.

Once the stimulus Kerfuffle is over, I encourage you to contact your Representatives and get this bill on the House floor and passed to the Senate.  Don’t let the pet industry kill it!

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