FWC Draft Rule Changes

This is another reminder that these are DRAFT RULES and not FINAL RULES. These DRAFT RULES will be the significant changes proposed (not finalized) at the July 23 FWC Commission Meeting.

Changes to 68-5.002 Definitions

  1. The term “Eradication and Control” will be added meaning: a targeted, systematic effort to remove an entire population of a nonnative species or to contain or otherwise manage the population of an invasive species so as to minimize its spread and impacts.

 

Changes to 68-5.004 Conditional Non-native Species

  1. All snake and lizard species currently listed as Conditional Species will be removed.

  2. This language will all be struck (repealed) from the current Conditional Species Rule. This text is highlighted in red to show it is the current language that will be amended (edited):

 

4) Non-native Snakes and Lizards: The following species possessed for personal use by reptile of concern license holders prior to July 1, 2010 may continue in the possession of the owner for the life of the animal. A valid license to possess these animals must be maintained pursuant to section 379.372, F.S. (a) Indian or Burmese python (Python molurus). (b) Reticulated python (Python reticulatus). (c) Northern African python (Python sebae). (d) Southern African python (Python natalensis). (e) Amethystine python (Morelia amethistinus). (f) Scrub python (Morelia kinghorni). (g) Green anaconda (Eunectes murinus)

 

  3. The language above will be replaced with the below:

(4) Non-native snakes and lizards: None listed at this time.

  4. By replacing current language with “Non-native snakes and lizards: None listed at this time,” it means there will no longer be a                       Conditional Species regulation for any snakes and lizards. All of the snakes and lizards currently listed as Conditional Species will

     now be banned and listed as Prohibited Species.

Changes to 68-5.006 Prohibited Non-native Species

  1. All species below will be added to the FWC Prohibited Species list. This includes subspecies, hybrids, and eggs. Note that this is the language used by FWC and is not reflective of updated and current taxonomy:

(e) Indian or Burmese python (Python molurus).

(f) Reticulated python (Python reticulatus).

(g) Northern African python (Python sebae).

(h) Southern African python (Python natalensis).

(i) Amethystine python (Morelia amethistinus).

(j) Scrub python (Morelia kinghorni).

(k) Green anaconda (Eunectes murinus).

(l) Nile monitor (Varanus niloticus).

(m) Green iguana (Iguana iguana)

(n) Tegus (genera Salvator and Tupinambis, all species)

 

Substantive Changes are made to 68-5.007 Possession of Prohibited Non-native Species

We will highlight both changes and rule enforcement.

 

  1. No person shall import into the state, sell, possess, or transport any live specimens of the species, or hybrids or eggs of Prohibited Species.

  2. Eligibility for Exhibition of Prohibited Species:

    • ONLY public aquaria, zoological parks, or public exhibitors will be allowed to conduct educational programs or exhibitions with Prohibited Species.

    • This means that those who were conducting educational programs or exhibitions under their Conditional Species Permits will no longer be allowed to continue those practices.

    • “Permits shall not be issued to entities operating at private residences.”

    • Prohibited Species will not be allowed in the mobile programs previously conducted by many Conditional Species Permit holders.

    • Prohibited species will also not be exhibited in any mobile exhibitions by Prohibited Species Permit holders.

  3. Eligibility for Prohibited Species Research Permit:

    • This permit shall ONLY be issued to a “principal investigator” who is:

      • a faculty member of a college or university;

      • affiliated with an accredited institution, or;

      • a member of a federal, state, county, or tribal agency.”

    • This means that any type of private research not qualifying for one of the cited exemptions by being directly affiliated with a named institution or agency will not qualify.

  4. General security measures and containment:

    • All research on Prohibited species shall be conducted in indoor facilities.

  5. Eligibility for Eradication and Control Permit:

    • This permit shall ONLY be issued to a “principal investigator” who is:

      • a faculty member of a college or university;

      • affiliated with an accredited institution, or;

      • a member of a federal, state, county, or tribal agency.”

    • A detailed proposal shall be submitted with the permit application and shall state with particularity the management objectives, methodology and duration, and shall outline planned safeguards to ensure proper containment and recovery of all specimens.

    • An annual record of progress toward the project objectives shall be maintained and available for FWC inspection.

    • All animals removed under a permit for eradication and control shall be humanely killed, except green iguanas and tegus removed by persons in possession of a valid commercial use of green iguanas and tegus permit.

  6. Commercial Use of Green Iguanas and Tegus

    • If you had a valid captive wildlife class III license on January 1, 2020 that had a documented inventory of green iguanas or tegus on your 2019 application, the Commission may allow you to continue to exhibit, sell, or breed green iguanas or tegu lizards commercially for as long as the license remains active.

    • Green iguanas and tegus must be sold outside of Florida.

    • Green iguanas and tegus cannot be imported into Florida.

    • If you qualify, you must submit a completed Conditional/Prohibited/Nonnative Species Permit application.

  7. Pets (“personal use”)

    • Permits will only be granted to owners in lawful possession of animals prior to the species’ listing as Prohibited.

    • You may only keep these species for the remainder of the life of the animal for which you receive permits.

    • This means no future animals of Prohibited Species may be acquired.

    • Under some circumstances, animals may be legally transferred to another entity holding a permit.

    • PIT Tags: Prohibited species possessed as pets shall be permanently identified with a unique passive integrated transponder (PIT tag).

    • Pet owners must submit a completed Conditional/Prohibited/Nonnative Species Permit application form.

  8. Inspections

    • Permittees and applicants applying to possess Prohibited species shall be inspected by Commission personnel or an authorized representative of the Commission prior to issuance of a permit.

  9. Caging

    • All Prohibited Species must be kept indoors in indoor enclosures.

    • No more outdoor enclosures.

    • All enclosures must meet the FWC specifications and standards included in this rule (see link below).

  10. Transfers

    • Animals transfers to another Prohibited Species Permit holder may be allowed under some circumstances.

    • Those seeking transfer requests must file a Prohibited Species Inventory Report Form.

  11. Breeding and keeping animals of the opposite sex

    • Prohibited reptile species shall not be bred, except by permitted Association of Zoos and Aquariums-accredited institutions (AZA), research, or qualifying commercial use purposes.

    • Any other males and females of a Prohibited species shall be caged separately, unless the individual animals have been spayed, neutered, or otherwise sterilized.

    • Persons in possession of species newly listed as Prohibited will have ninety (90) days from the effective date of the species’ listing as Prohibited to come into compliance with the provisions of this section. NOTE: This means you will have 90 days from the date that FWC finalizes these rules to receive your exemption permits. We do not know what the date of the final rulemaking will be.

  12. LINK to Draft Prohibited Species Rule: https://myfwc.com/media/24095/8a-reptiledr-68-5007.pdf

Click below to read the USARK FL veto letter submitted to Governor Desantis.

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