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Posted by Rob Carmichael on April 24, 2003 at 08:01:44:
In Reply to: Poll Question: Full ban on reptile importation? Yay/Nay? posted by BrianSmith on April 23, 2003 at 18:41:58:
In some instances, importation is necessary when there is little captive breeding taking place among that species. For example, our facility is now working with crocodile monitors; there are very few captive bred animals available so we must rely on imported specimens (some are farm raised, some wild caught). This diverse gene pool will hopefully provide enough diversity to start a captive breeding program among private and public facilities. In time, perhaps there will be a much less demand on wild populations (as this is a species that could be of great concern due to the rampant harvesting of asian forests). All of today's herp success stories started with bringing in imported animals and selectively breeding them for certain traits (color, pattern, temperment, etc.). As captive breeding becomes successful, there is less pressure put on wild populations.
Look at Ball Pythons. Despite the tens of thousands that are produced by private breeders in the U.S., there are tens of thousands that are still being imported from Africa. Ironically, scientific (and valid) evidence supports that despite this large "harvest" of wild populations, these same populations are still relatively (from a biological point of view) healthy. This is a very complext issue and there are many factors.
I am personally not as concerned about whether the importing of wild stock drives prices down, however, I do think it is one factor that compounds the problem of too many burms and not enough responsible keepers to maintain them. At lower prices they do become perceived as "disposable" (much like iguanas). If prices would stay high, the problem would be far reduced....kind sounds like circular reasoning (the old chicken and the egg argument).
As natural habitats continue to be destroyed, my opinions on importation become far more stronger in protecting wild populations. In some cases, under very controlled conditions/circumstances, imported wild caught herps provide valuable genetic diverstiy to captive breeding programs...but this can get carried too far as there is probably enough genetic diversity in captivity IF we knew how to control/monitor who is breeding what (much like dogs and AKC).
This is a very tough issue and one that could be discussed over the course of a year or two.
:Regardless of if the reptiles are "captive hatched" in farms in other countries, or ripped straight out of their natural environments, these animals suffer greatly as a result of being shipped and warehoused in cramped and filthy conditions. Furthermore, this importation of reptiles drives the prices way down and helps to land these poor animals into the hands of neglectful keepers. Let's try to put a stop to this somehow. We can start by taking a vote and see what percentage of true herpers really care what happens to these mistreated animals just to turn a quick buck. Please vote "Yay!" if you actually care to help put a stop to the suffering of these wonderful creatures. Thank you.