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Old 06-18-03, 10:45 PM   #1 (permalink)
Cas
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CB animals and CITES

Hey all.... I was reading a 'certified reptile specialist' workbook (written by the pet industry joint advisory council - pijac) that I borrowed from work, and in it it says that captive bred animals are not exempted from CITES and that interprovincial transport required CITES permits as well as international transport. I was under the impression that CB animals just needed proof of CB status (I have not personally bought or sold any listed animals before). So, is this book right? And if so, how hard is it to obtain CITES permits for CB animals?

Thanks,
Dawn
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Old 06-19-03, 06:25 AM   #2 (permalink)
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The book is part right, and part wrong. CB specimens are definitely NOT exempted from CITES regulations. In some cases, CITES permits may be easier to get with CB specimens, but the permits are still required. "Proof of CB status" is a very difficult thing to provide in a legal sense. CITES permits are only required for international trade, not interprovincial. However, if you need a CITES permit to have imported something into one province from another country, then if that animal goes to a different province, the CITES permit (or at least a copy) should go with it. It is not enough to say 'somebody in New Brunswick imported it, and then I bought it from him'. Generally speaking, this kind of attention is only paid to species listed on CITES Appendix I, and perhaps a few App. II species which are not common in the pet trade. Green Iguanas, Boa constrictors, and other common App. II species are not what the Canadian Wildlife Service is really interested in.

How hard is it to get permits? That depends on a lot of factors, especially what species is involved.

I hope that this answers your questions.

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Old 06-19-03, 10:02 AM   #3 (permalink)
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That's good to know, since I live in Alberta and was thinking of ordering some snakes from BC and Ontario. I was worried that the whole process would become a paperwork nightmare. Thanks for the info, Jeff.
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Old 06-19-03, 02:39 PM   #4 (permalink)
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here is a copy of an email i recieved from the cws regarding importing cites1 snakes.
and as far as i know even corn snakes are cites listed, but on appendix III
cheers
paul


In response to your e-mail of May 30 the importation of a Dumeril's boa (Acrantophis dumerili) and Argentine Boa Constrictor (Boa constrictor occidentalis) are both regulated by CITES. Since they are species listed on CITES Appendix I, you need to obtain both a CITES import permit from the importing country and a CITES export permit from the exporting country.

The importation of a CITES Appendix I species is not authorized for commercial purpose. The importation could be authorized for other purposes such as breeding, but you need to demonstrate that you possess the experience, the knowledge and the adequate installations to house and care for the boas. In general, it is very difficult for an amateur to import CITES Appendix I species.

The Canadian CITES import permits are issued by our office. If you think that you meet the requirements for the experience, knowledge and installations, you could send me your complete address and I will mail you an application form or you could go to our website to obtain one at www.cites.ca

To obtain a U.S. CITES export permit you need to contact the US Fish and Wildlife at Tel: 703-2104 or fax: 703-358-2281. Website: http://permits.fws.gov/ They can also provide you with additional information.

Note the importation of a live animals into Canada may require the prior grant of an import permit required under Canada's Health of Animals Regulations and issued by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). You may reach them at 1-877-493-0468, 1-800-835-4486, 1-888-732-6222.

Regarding microchipping boas as a method of identification, in Canada CITES does not have any law, but often animal owners get their veterinarians to microchip their animals. I suggest you verify with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for their own laws.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you need additional information.

Yours sincerely,

Lynn Laprise-Gauthier
A/CITES Specialist
Canadian Wildlife Service
Telephone: (819) 953-1408
FAX: (819) 953-6283
E-Mail: Lynn.Laprise-Gauthier@ec.gc.ca
Website: www.cites.ca
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Old 06-19-03, 08:07 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Corn snakes, and most other colubrids, are not listed on any Appendix of CITES.

All boas and pythons, varanids, and some other families of reptiles are listed on App. II (export permit only).

CFIA does not have any requirement for snakes to have import permits. They do require import permits and inspections for turtles.

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Old 06-19-03, 10:29 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Thanks!

So, if an animal is CB in Canada, it can be transported anywhere in Canada without paperwork... but if was imported into Canada, then its paperwork has to go with it when it changes province - correct? (and, I imagine for CITES I animals, you need to be able to trace a CB animal back to a legally imported animal, yes?)

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Old 06-20-03, 01:42 AM   #7 (permalink)
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The paper work doesn't HAVE to travel with it, but it should. Some vendors don't include paperwork for various reasons.
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Old 06-20-03, 06:10 AM   #8 (permalink)
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You're on the right track, Dawn. 'Have to' and 'Should' are debatable. If you are challenged by CWS to prove something's status, you 'should' have the paperwork. Otherwise, you could end up in court. If I was buying an animal that I thought could be a problem, I would 'have to' have the paperwork in most cases.

However, keep in mind that CWS is generally only concerned with CITES App. I species which are rarely involved in the herp hobby in Canada, with notable exceptions. They are not out checking paperwork on green iguanas and boa constrictors (App. II).

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Old 06-22-03, 12:24 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Ahh, I get it! Thanks!

Out of curiosity, if say, a zoo or other regulated kind of place bought a CB green ig or a boa, would they be more likely to need to make sure the animal had documentation than your average hobbiest?

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Old 06-22-03, 07:23 AM   #10 (permalink)
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The importation of CITES 1 animals is possible. I imported 21 CITES appendix 1 Puerto Rican boas (Epicrates Inornatus) 2 years ago. Most pythons and boas are appendix 2, however, there are a couple appendix 1 boids as well. They are as follows:

Pythons:

*Indian (Ceylons fall under the Indian classification since the government can't tell the difference between an appendix 1 Indian and an appendix 2 Ceylon).

Boas:

*Argentine
*All 3 Madagaskar Boas (Dumerils, Ground and Tree)
*Jamaican
*Puerto Rican
*Virgin Islands (Very rare)

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Old 06-22-03, 08:03 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Do they actually have people at the border who can identify the snake? Or do they just ask you what sp. it is?
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Old 06-22-03, 10:19 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Hi Cas.

In Canada, because we as a nation seem to feel that we need to make international laws somewhat unique and confusing, Wappriita was formed.

These are laws for dealing with interprovincial movement of captive wildlife - but they are confusing and seem only to be enforced when a problem arises, or when someone asks about them.

We, as a zoo, make sure to follow every law (that we are aware of). When we buy or sell animals across provincial borders, an export permit from the province as well as an import permit to the province is required. (Sometimes all we are responsible for is the import permit, when bringing animals in - or the export permit when selling some)

Even when we take animals to shows, we have to get a "special permit", much like a temporary shelter permit - which strictly states the dates, the species and the physical address that the animals are going to be at.

These permits are granted to us by the provincial fish and wildlife of whatever provinces we are dealing with.

The permits in Saskatchewan are free; In Alberta they are $20. A health certificate is supposed to go along with the permit, but only a few offices have ever requested one. (We have a vet inspect all of our animals each year, so we have a valid certificate for travelling outside of Sask)

We have never been asked for CITES paperwork for any animal.

The one thing I can say about these laws, they are interpreted differently by many people who are supposed to enforce them - and many times aren't enforced at all.

I think they realize that countless reptiles, and other animals, are brought across provincial lines all of the time. Very few people know that they are supposed to get permits any time they take animals across the border. There are a few officers who are real sticklers for the law - so it is best to try and follow the laws.

We did bring one Appendix 1 animal into the province, but weren't asked for proof of origin. I think technically we should have needed to prove that they were captive bred from stock animals that had CITES paperwork for importation into Canada - but we were not asked to do so.

I have been told by one wildlife official that it is "easier to ask for forgiveness, than permission" and it seems that many provincial fish and wildlife offices would rather not be bothered by another law to enforce. Sometimes some of them even seem irritated that we want all of the proper permits written - but in our position, we want to make sure that everything we do is completely above board as I would hate to ever lose our permits because of a small screw up.

There are many (the majority actually) officers however, that are happy to write us permits because they know someone is trying to follow the laws. From a few little things they have said, I suspect that they will be doing more to enforce these laws in the future, and to have people comply with them.

Feel free to read the Wappriita act, it is one of the hardest laws to read through and interpret that I have ever read. Leave it to Canada to make their simplification of CITES, as it applies in Canada, a lot more difficult and open to interpretation (unless you are a legal secretary).

Ryan

P.S.

You had asked how the laws apply differntly for a zoo than for your average joe. They don't differ at all. We have to do the same thing for our personal collection at home.

I've been led to beleive (by environment Canada), however, that it would be easier for the zoo to have CITES paperwork issued if the need arose (for shipping to the U.S), and that we could get animals that were confiscated and thought to have been smuggled, or obtained in another illegal way). I kind of doubt this, but haven't had the chance to test it. Maybe someday some kid will bring a Mata Mata with him back from Disney land as a pet.
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Old 06-22-03, 11:30 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Most reptile laws draw very little distinction between collected and CB animals. I think the reasoning is fraud. Seems they think people would still collect endangered species, such as Gila monsters and claim them as CB.
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Old 06-22-03, 05:50 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Actually, it is easier to get CITES paperwork on farmed/WC animals than CB. The reasoning being is that if you import CH/WC balls from Africa they come from Africa to Canada with CITES paperwork. So, when you go to the CWS (Canadian Wildlife Service) you verify with the African Export CITES that you infact have legally aquired animals. However, when you bred the animals you need to verify that the animals were CB, who the breeder was and what the origins of the adults were (and if in fact they were brought into the country legally).

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Old 06-23-03, 08:33 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Corey- your last statement is true for things that do not originate in the US. It is different for CITES listed specimens that are native to the US such as Wood Turtles, Rubber and Rosy Boas, etc.

SCReptiles- Of course it is difficult to tell with legal certainty whether something is CB or WC. And yes, there ARE people who would still collect threatened and endangered species. I have met some of them in person.

tHeGiNo- what happens at the border with wildlife varies widely even within the framework of the laws. CWS biologists who can ID animals may inspect something if they have concerns, but they may not. Some customs officers have an interest and may be able to ID some things, others don't. On the US side, virtually everything is inspected now by USFWS officers who generally have decent ID skills, and bring books with them.

With respect to WAPPRIITA (taken from 'Your Guide to WAAPRIITA', I have a copy of the statute but not the time to review it at the moment)- it is the Canadian law that enables CITES, an international convention (not a law!). Without it, if someone imported a CITES animal without the export permit from the exporting country, or if the permit was granted but only due to falsified information, CWS could not prosecute in Canada. The individual would have only broken the laws of the exporting country, and would have to have been charged there. Since many foreign countries don't care and wouldn't expend the money to prosecute, CWS can now do so here in Canada. Essentially, if you break a foreign law to get something here, you have broken a Canadian law that says 'you can't break any foreign laws'.

WAAPRIITA allows make it an offence to distribute (includes sell) CITES App. I specimens except as proscribed in the regulations, which can change more easily than the statute. As of 1996, you could sell an App. I specimen if you could show with reasonable probability that it came out of the wild prior to 1975 (when CITES was created), if you can show that it was legally imported following all CITES procedures (this is why you need copies of the paperwork!), if you can show that you are not in violation of any federal/provincial/territorial consveration law (covers App. I species native to Canada, i.e. whales, peregrine falcons, whooping cranes), or if a specimen is part of a 'captive breeding program'. Note that now we are not talking just about possession. If Bob sells Jim an App. I specimen without proof of legality, Jim could be charged with possession but Bob can also be charged with illegal sale. Both would have to go to court to try to prove 'reasonable probability' of legality. Not fun, very costly, and of course, perhaps it wasn't legal anyway!

As for interprovincial movements, WAPPRIITA makes it an offence to transport a specimen between provinces if it was illegally collected, possessed, etc. in another province, or to possess a specimen which was transported illegally. Without WAAPRIITA, if Bob collected a black rat snake (protected species) in Ontario, took it to New Brunswick, and sold it to Mary, and Mary then took it to Nova Scotia and sold it to Rick, who broke the law? Bob, and he would have to be charged in Ontario. This might be difficult and expensive if he lived in Quebec. With WAAPRIITA, Mary broke the law too, and so did Rick. This also means that if Bob sold it to 'some guy at a reptile show', and Rick bought it from 'some guy at a reptile show', Rick could still be charged, though the trail back to Bob might be harder to follow.

The new Species at Risk act will also apply to examples like the above one of things which are 'at risk' in Canada.

Some provinces regulate the movement of wildlife between them, and others don't. I'll take Ryan's word about Sask. and Alberta. Ontario regulates import/export of species native to here, but not CITES listed animals (unless they happen to be native like Wood turtles). You don't need an Ontario import or export permit to move a Jamaican Boa to or from the province, but you might need a permit from another province.

The moral of the story- find out all of the relevant laws before you attempt to do something. Depending upon the situation you may need to check CITES, WAAPRIITA, SARA, Agriculture Canada laws, Ontario Fish & Wildlife Conservation Act and Ontario Endangered Species Act (and/or equivalent provincial/territorial laws elsewhere), US federal and state laws, and of course, municipal, county, or regional by-laws!!! Yes, it can be a real challenge sometimes!

Remember however, that most of the WAAPRIITA stuff applies to CITES App. I specimens, not the more common App. II stuff.

Cas, accredited zoos are more likely to be aware of the laws and require the appropriate permits. They are also more likely to be granted them from the authorities, for obvious reasons. This may not be the case for private zoos, which vary widely in size and scope. However, zoos don't generally need to watch paperwork for a green iguana, as CWS has claimed that they are not worried about these things. Most zoos don't want them anyway!

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