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MINNESOTA HERPETOLOGICAL SOCIETY NEWSLETTER NUMBER 2

VOLUME II MARCH MEETING . '

Friday, March 5, 1982 7:00 PM Room 225, Smith Hall , University of Minnesota

in 'the day of the'meeting. This will be our first Annual Meeting, and the MHS constitution dictates that this meeting will held on the first Friday in March. We will have election of officers and vote路 on 2 constitutional amendments. Please make a sp~cial effort to attend. MHS can only be as successful as you make it!

The constitutional amendments will be to add 'a 4th Member-at-Large and to change the dues' structure. The proposed dues change would make Individual Members $7.50 rather than $5.00, and create a Family Membership at $10.00. This matter has been given.much thought by the Board of Directors, and it is, . felt that this additional income is necessary for the welfare of MHS. We've come a long way in our first year of existence and need to keep moving.

We are still growing! We now have 80 members, of which 40 attended meeting. This was a super turnout in light of the cold weather.

The refreshments were a huge success! They were furnished by Connie Delles, Karl Hermann, and Larry and Jane Yank. Thanks from MHS! -If you would lik~ to help with this new meeting feature, let us know. Any cost incurred will be , imbursed from the treasury! The coffee pot was purchased from MHS ~unds and should serve us well on these cold winter nights. Also, if you have any i along this line, please let us know. ..,. '

,The MHS Library has added the following new book, purchased with Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia by Harold G. Cogger This is really a super book and is highly recommended. Look for March meeting!

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; The February meeting was presented by Gary Casper, and was of real interest to all of us. Gary outlined some of the problems caused by the 'sting', and also outlined some possible solutions. His ideas make a lot of sense, and need to be given serious thought! Along this line you will find a petition in this issue of the Newsletter. Please read it carefully, and make a real effort to fill it with signatures. Send it or bring it to the next meeting. Your efforts wi.ll be greatly appreciated!

. The February meeting gave us our best was great to see all these animals

Rococo Toad Colorado River Toad California Toad Southwestern Woodhouse's Toad Asian Walking Toad Oriental Fire Bellied Toad

WANTED:' Books and Journals field of Herpetology. your MHS Library!

Argentine Horned Frog ColOmbian-Horned Frog Barking Tree Frog Cuban Tree Frog 'HaitianTree Frog White's Tree Frog Spring Peeper

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African Burrowing Bullfrog They were brought by Gary Baecher, Matt Cutler, John Dee,' Bruce Delles, Jim Gerholdt, Del Jones, Terry Odegaard, Mike Schwartz, and Jane Yank. Thanks from MHS!

The March meeting's "Critter of the Month" will be your "Favorite of the Month". Bring fn whatever you think is your neatest or best This should really give us a great selection. It will also help us to know each other a little better.

MHS members are reminded that an MHS pendant is available. It is done in silver and the approximate cost is $20.00. A sample can be seen at Petcetera . or at the March meeting. The jeweler is, of course, our own Gary Ba~cher •

.. We have in this issue something new! Custom cartoons drawn for letter by Fran Frisch! These are super and MHS thanks Fran for

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TRANSPORTING'HERPS DURING TEMPERATURE EXTREMES by Terry Odegaard Reptiles and amphibians can be moved about in very hot or cold weather if a little thought is given to the problem.

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During cold weather small specimens can be put in a container and simply stuck under your coat. A suitable container in this case might be a pint milk carton, p1asti c jar, or cloth bag. Of course when a bag is used 'care must be taken to .i nS'ure the spec imen is not squashed acc i de~ta lly. â&#x20AC;˘

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>~:;,:.: \:~::targer specimens may be carried in a picnic cooler. A hot water bottle. wrapped in a towel will keep things cozy inside for the critter you Ire trying to keep warm. A thermometer might be used to keep an accurate check on the temp. Also, . pre-heating' the car when possible helps. In hot weather our problem is keeping our specimens at a cool enough constant temperature. Once again, the picnic cooler is useful. Only instead of a hot water bott 1e, add a mi.l k carton or coffee can fu 11 of ice cubes. Wrappi ng the . ice container in a towel will avoid cold spots in the cooler. Keep the cooler out of the sun anq if the cooler must sit in a car, the windows should be kept open. In hot or cold weather be sure to check the coolerls temperature frequently to let yo~ know if adjustments should be made. I have used these methods with great success on the coldest Minnesota winter days ~nd~in the excessive heat. of the Mexican desert.


1982 JOINT ANNUAL MEETING

SOCIETY FOR -fHE STUDY OF AMPHIBIANS AND REPTILES 25th Anniversary Meeting

HERPETOLOGISTS' LEAGUE 30th Annual Meeting Raleigh, North Carolina: State Museum of Natural History ·1-6 August 1982

HL DISTINGUISHED -HERPETOLOGIST LECTURE:

DISPLAYS

1. "Herpetological Art and Photograph Display", including contest. 2. "Amphibians of the Appalachian Mountains", a multimedia sound-and-slide presentation by David M. Dennis and Eric Juterbock. 3. "Live Amphibians and Reptiles of the Carolinas", a display sponsored by the North· Carolina Herpetological Society. Photography will be permitted. 4. "Herpetologists Then and _Now", .a slide show organized by David M. Dennis. 5. Displays of Herpetological Films, Books and Equipment.

Thomas Uzzell (Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia). SSAR SILVER ANNIVERSAR\' SYMPOSIUM:

"MOLECULAR AND GENOMIC EVOLUTION OF AMPHIBIANS AND . REPTILES"

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David B. Wake (University of California at Berkeley), Organizer and Moderator. This special symposium-will focus on current questions concerning population structure and gene flow, species problems and relationships of taxa, and wiil include an overview of the newest techniques and approaches with a look to the future. The 30 participants, com.....-> prising the leading authorities from Europe and North America, will cover these topics in several keynote lectures, research papers and public discussion sessions.

WORKSf{OPS 1. "Program Funding, Administration and the

Practicalities of Running a Regional Herpetological Society", sponsored by the SSAR Regional Society Liaison-Committee and the North Carolina Herpetological Society.' .2.. "Gopher Tortoise CouncU-'. arranged by Richard Franz. 3. "Photography Workshop", a how-to-do-it session arranged by David M. Dennis. 4. "Funding Sources for Herpetological Research", sponsored by the SSAR Z60 Liaison Committee.

TECHNICAL PAPER PRESENTATIONS

Research reports will be given in two formats: oral presentations (with several concurrent sessions) and pbster ·sessions. SOCIAL ACTIVITIES

Several evening events are planned, highlighted by a genuine Old Fashioned Carolina Pig Pi<7kin' and Barbeque.

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ADDITIONAL INFORMATION FIELD TRIPS

A detailed Program and Call for Papers witl appear in Herpetological Review and in Herpet%gica. For other details write Ray E. Ashton, North Carolina Museum of Natural History, P.O. Box 27647, Raleigh, North Carolina, 27611, U.S .A. All interested persons . are welcome to attend. .

Several trips· will be scheduled following the meeting to the North Carolina Coastal Plain and Green Swamp and to the .Blue Ridge Mountains and Great Smoky Mountains. Collecting of specimens will not be permitted, 'only photography.

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Recommendations for Action to Ensure the Protection and Survival of Rare Wildlife Introduction The United States Department of the Interior Fish and Wildlife Service has , recently demonstrated a disregard for civil rights, resulting in the destruction of many rare animals and the research being done with them. This situation has come about through the questionable enforcement of several wildlife laws that are actually threatening the animals they were meant to protect. This report outlines a program for resolving this situation, by . creating a legal system which protects and encourages the conservation of rare wi 1d1i f e. . :,; In the recent reptile 'sting' operation undertaken by the Fish and Wildlife Service many unacceptable acts ocurred. It has been documented that in these raids animals with registered federal permits were seized, as well as animals not covered by any statutes. Important research animals were confiscated. Fish and Wildlife has demonstrated an inability to identify confiscated animals â&#x20AC;˘ .There are reports of federa l.personne 1 cutting' and burn i ng an ima 1s for. trac i ng purposes. III ega 1 sei zure of research papers, permi ts, .and bus i ness records as well as the destruction of personal property is documented. Editing of taped transactions, being used as court evidence, has been revealed. Reports of blatant entrapment are numerous. The deaths of large numbers of animals placement in inadequate !care facilities has been a common occurence, these deaths¡incldding many rare captive born animals.

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Activities of Fish and Wildlife since these raids are even more alarming. They have refused to return illegally confiscated animals, research, records, and permits. They have intimidated victims into plea bargaining through various tactics of coercion, harassment, and threats of financial ruin; thus avoiding couri trials and the accompanying exposure of their methods of operation, and assuring an impressive record of comvictions. Many victims are being required to prove that their animals were not obtained in violation of . any state or federal law; in short, they must prove their innocence! An exact contradiction of our legal premise of innocent until proven guilty! , Afraid of facing felony charges should they be unable to prove their animals ',are' legal, some people. have incinerated an'imals or released them under conditions wh~re their survival is improbable. Wildlife wardens have actually' stated in public interviews that the burden of proof is on the defendant! WhY are these amazing events occurring? The reasons for initiatin~ this 'sting' are not clear. Many believe that in this time of budget cutting and departmental phase-outs the Law Enforcement Division of the Fish and Wildlife Service felt it had to justify its existence by making a dramatic series of arrests. Thus the 'sting' which, according to a Fish and Wildlife press release, "uncovered a massive illegal trade in protected and endan.gered U.S. reptiles". However, it has been shown that Fish and Wildlife (through its front operation the "Atlanta Wildlife Exchange") in fact created this "ma~sive ill~gal trade" by offering incredibly high pri'ces for protected

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animals in an economically depressed time. The Atlanta Wildlife Exchange also encouraged customers to purchase illegal animals at greatly reduced rates. By using tactics such as selling legitimate animals only if animals of "questionable origin'~ were included in the shipment, the Exchange persuaded customers to buy their illegal wares. This supports the view that the entire operation was an attempt to demonstrate a need for the services of the Law Enforcement Division. •

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Current wildlife laws regulate market hunting, live trade, and habitat de- " struction. It is the'responsibility of the Fish and Wildlife Service to enforce these laws. Habitat protection can be extremely difficult in the face of powerful commercial lobbies and demands for energy and resources, as . shown in the case of the Snail Darter and the Tellico Dam. Protection of listed animals from market hunting can also be difficult, as shown in the recent furor over bobcat harvests. Powerful fur interests are combating any reduction in the take of bobcat pelts. Live animal trade, however, is an . easy scapegoat as it is made up of small businesses and private individuals who do not have the resources to survive "power plays" by Fish· and Wildlife. Fish and'Wildlife can make it appear as if they are fulfilling their obligation to enforce regulations on live trade. This seeming fulfillment of thefr obligations is illustrated by tactics,used in the reptile 'sting', which certainly exceeded both leg~l and ethical grounds. It appears that Fish and Wildlife, frustrated with an inability to prevent habitat loss and facing powerful opposition to animal product regulation, created a large mark~t for illegal reptiles where only a small. illegal trade normally operated. This artificial market was then lIuncovered " in a dramatic series of raids. The media was invited to cover these ra i" ds and to 1dthat >lIhundreds of thousands of U.S. 'rep± i 1es are ill egally taken from the wild each year for a thriving black market " • Articles appeared portraying federal agents as "astonished at the scope of the traffic" and the reptile 'sting' as lithe most successful Fish and Wildlife law enforcement operation ever conducted " • The media dramatized the apparent ~uc­ cess of the operation, as evidence to the contrary was not released. This' . ~ helped to create the illusion that Fish and Wildlife was dOing its job and saving wildlife from "unscrupulous animal dealersll. The laws that stimulated Fish and Wildlife to act in such a manner are the essential concern of this report. The Purpose of Wildlife Legislation Ideally, wildlife legislation should ensure the long-term survival of wildlife. The fuction of the Fish and Wildlife Service should be to assist and encourage efforts towards this end. Fish and Wildlife should do everything possible to aid research and breeding of rare animals. People who breed endangered animals are performing a great service to mankind and the environment. They are preventing the extinction of unique elements of the plane-. tary·ecosystem. Such persons should be given a citation of merit for their accomplishment! The Fish and Wildlife Service should promote such activities by quick and efficient:processing of permits and active approval and encourgement. They should have a positive effect on breeding and work with animal breeders towards the common goal of long-term survival of wildlire:-wildlife legislation needs to promote activities beneficial to wildlife. Fish and

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Wildlife should function in this ~egard by assisting and encouraging all public and private breeding of rare wildlife. Wildlife legislation must address negative impacts on wildlife. These come from three sources-market hunting, live trade, and most importantly habitat loss. Habitat destruction is by far the major cause of wildlife decline. An effective means to protect habitat from destruction'and degradation is essential. In-. centives for habitat preservation at home and abroad are extremely important. Only When this is achieved will other protective measures have meaning. The~e must be effective regulation of hunting and the animal product market. ':. Careful regulation of animal products is required, not outright bans.路 This is necessary because many animals are being protected in the wild by establishing commercial farming operations, which put illicit markets out of business by providing a ~ source for superior quality products. The crocodile farms of Thailand and-papua.New Guinea, the Green Turtle farm on Grand Cayman Island, trout farms, and mink farms are all examples of animal product industries that are beneficial to wildlife. Many more species could be pr.otected in this manner. Wildlife legislation should encourage such operations.

Wildlife legislation should have realistic regulations on commerce in live animals. Intelligent quotas for the importation and exportation of live fauna need to be established. Employment of, and consultation with, qualified personnel is essential. Live collecting for captive maintenance~very rarely has any effect at all on wild populations. Only when habitat has been destroyed to 路the point where only remnant populations exist could live collecting pose a threat. Fish and Wildlife has cited the Eastern Indigo Snake and the San Francisco' Garter Snake as species endangered through live collecting. This is demonstrably false! Where its habitat remains, the Jastern Indigo Snake is thriving to the point of overpopulation at present, po~ing a threat to' several endemic snakes which share its habitat. A study of Indigo Snakes prior to their listing concluded that live collecting had no effect at all on populations, but that habitat loss had forced them out of many areas. The San : Francisco Garter Snake has always been sparsely distributed, and it has suffered severely from the development of the ponds along which it lives. This prolific breeder could easily be re-established through captive propogation in the future, if hab"itat is available. Where habitat loss has reduced a species to endangered status, it is desirable to collect any surplus individuals for captive propogation programs. To this ebd, intelligent quotas need to be established for the live collecting of rare animals. Finally, wildlife legislation should encourage and assist captive and semi-. captive breeding programs, both public and private. Current restrictions have just the opposite effect. These l路aws have traditionally been uncontested as beneficial aspects of wildlife legislation. However, documented proof that many of these laws are preventing the reproduction of captive wildlife is on hand. Laws now in effect make it virtually impossible to transport, trade, or market captive born wildlife over state or international boundaries. The expense of housing and feeding offspring that cannot be sold, moved, or traded is prohibitive. Thus, zoos, collectors, and other organizations are frequently not breeding rare and endangered animals because of the very laws enacted to protect these speci es! Further, the enfor-cement, techni ques be路i ng used all but require that proof of origin for p~ot~cted animals be nn hand.

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There are even reports of federal personnel stating th~t eossession of captive born protected wildlife is illegal; and that animals obtalned legally become illegal if, at a later date, laws protecting them are enacted at their place of origin! These restrictions make captive propagation nearly impossible. If a protected an'imal is bred, the offspring cannot be moved except within the state. This market is quickly saturated and any further offspring become a great financial burden to house and feed. Even intrastate marketing, though legal, has almost stopped due to recent requirements to prove origins. Though permits can be issued for interstate and foreign commerce, few institutions are granted them and these require application fees and long waiting periods. Further, 'permits are rarely issued to private parties, despite the fact that they are just as important in the. breeding of rare wildlife as large public ' institutions. This is because private foundations are free to concentrate all, their resources on a few species and avoid the necessity of providing for ' public access and exhibits. Thus current laws, instead of encouraging and assisting the propogation of rare wildlife, make such propagation virtually impossible. To resolve this conflict, new legislation needs t~ be introduced. Advantages of Amending Wildlife Laws' There should be no restrictions~on the sale, trad~, ~ransport, importation, ' exportation, or possession of any taptive born wildlife.路The benefits of such legislation would, be great. It would take, pressure off wild populat~ons by making captive born animals 'Pore attracttve, than wild caught ones. There is high risk involved when buying ,wild caught animals as they often succumb to disease, parasites, and trauma. The purchase of captive born animals, however, carries inherent advantages in that they are clean, healthy, and acclimated to captivity.- In this way, the trade in illegal wildlife can be greatly reduced by providing legal sources for superior quality animals. This is a far more effective means of halting smuggling than prohibition. This would allow law enforcement agencies to concentrate on habitat loss and market hunting. The establishment of large, widely distributed captive populations will reduce the vulnerability of remnant wild populations to nat, ural disasters. It will make possible the re-introduction of species to areas from which they have disappeared. It would facilitate work on the biology of rare species, including the establishment and tracing of gene ,lines. Animal breeders would also benefit. Such legislation would be an economic incentive to b~eed rare animals. It would enable zoos, organizations, and individuals to generate funds by selling offspring. This money could pay for food, caging. energy, salaries, research, or new animals. In short, the animals would pay for themselves. ~y making animals a valuable commodity everyone benefits: theanimals-. through careful care and breeding; the owner-by generating funds to pay for, animal maintenance, research, or expansion of facilities; the buyer-by acquiring quality, low risk specimens. A zoo would rather pay $75 for a captive born parrot than $50 for a wild caught parrot which might have to be replaced 5 or 6 times. The zoo could then breed these birds and sell the offspring. This would allow the initial cost to be recovered while introducing the species to another facility, thus augmenting gene pools.' Such legislation would facilitate the establishment of breeding groups of rare animals. With very rare animals, there is often a problem of bringing \

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sexual pairs together from widely scattered collections. A lone male in Washington and a lqne fe~ale in London may as well be worlds apart if import and export permits cannot be obtained. The proposed legislation would eliminate this problem. Breeding groups could be established at any location unhindered , by an inability to obtain mates or exchange blood lines. This would be a major accomplishment for many of the world's rarest species. I

The proposed amendments would result in many more rare and endangered animals , being bred in captivity than is presently the case. This is obviously beneficial to the animals themselves. With'the Fish and Wildlife Service promoting this propagation, such activities could mean the~difference between survival and extinction for many rare species. EDITOR'S NOTE: This ;s part 1 of an article written by Gary Casper to the recent,'sting ' • Part 2 will appear in the next newsletter.

MINNESOTA HERPETOLOGICAL SOCIETY DIRECTORY OffICERS De lv 1n Jones

President

938-8555

Terry Odegaard

Vice.President

544·6406

Connie Oelles

Secretary-Treasurer

938-1679 .

Jh, Gtrholdt

Newsletter Editor

507-652·2996

John Ou

Mel'lber-It. lar ge

699·8859

8rucf'Oellu

Member-U-l arge

938-1679

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PROTECT OUR WILDLIFE A Petition to the Senate and the Congress of the United States We petition you under the First Amendment of the Constitution to ~nsure the survival of our rare wildlife by amending laws which pose a threat to world wildlife. Whereas the Endangered Species Act is scheduled for re-authorization in November of 1982; amendments to it, the Lacey Act, the Migratory Bird Treaty, and the Convention on International Trade in Endagered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora should provide: ~)

that there be,no restrictions on the sale, trade, transport, importation, exportation, orp'ossession of any. captive ~orn wildlife • •

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B) a general amnes~y fo~ any and all animals cur~~ntly in captivity in the United States. C) requirements for wildlife agencies to encourage and assist captive and semi-captive breeding programs, both p~blic and private. D)" provisions to ensure the employment of, and consultation with, teams of expert personnel (public and private) when establishing regulations on trade in live fauna, and all other policies regarding wildlife. E) incentives for animal far~s which will provide legal sources for animal products, take pressure off wild populations, and ~ake it uneconomical for poachers and illegal suppliers to operate. ----------~---------~---------------------------------~~-----------------------------

1. Signature Address

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2. Signature

Address

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3. Signature

Address

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4. Signature Aqdress

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Name

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7. Signature

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6. Signature

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5. Signature

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Vol. 2 (1982), No. 2  

Minnesota Herpetological Society Newsletter

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