The United States Fish and Wildlife Service has extended the comment period for the proposed constrictor snake ban.
The United States Fish and Wildlife Service has extended the public comment period for its proposal to list nine species of large constrictor snakes as “injurious wildlife.” The deadline to comment is Aug. 2.
The proposed rule change, which was published in the Federal Register in March, seeks to list the following snakes as “injurious wildlife” under the Lacey Act, thus prohibiting the importation and interstate trade of these species: the Indian and Burmese python, northern African python, southern African python, reticulated python, green anaconda, yellow anaconda, Beni or Bolivian anaconda, DeSchauensee’s anaconda and Boa constrictor.
The initial 60-day comment period ended May 11. Now, at the request of the public, the FWS has reopened the comment period for an additional 30 days. Individuals who have previously submitted comments are asked not to resubmit them. According to the FWS, it has already incorporated the comments submitted during the initial comment period into the public record.
Many of the snakes facing the potential ban are popular pets and associated with a large domestic and international trade. Over the past 30 years, about one million of these nine species have been imported into the United States, and current domestic production of some species likely exceeds import levels, according to the U.S. Department of the Interior.
The Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council and other groups, such as the U.S. Association of Reptile Keepers, have voiced concerns about the possibility of a ban pushing the trade underground and potentially causing those already in possession of the snakes to euthanize the animals or release them into the wild.
Ban supporters, such as the Humane Society of the United States, say action is needed to protect the country’s fragile ecosystems from being destroyed by the snakes.
The proposed rule may be viewed here.
Comments may be submitted electronically at regulations.gov under Docket No. FWS-R9-FHC-2008-0015 or via U.S. mail or hand-delivery to Public Comments Processing, Attn: Docket No. FWS-R9-FHC-2008-0015; Division of Policy and Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 N. Fairfax Dr., Suite 222; Arlington, VA 22203.