By John B. Virata
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The importation and interstate transportation of the Burmese python and three other snakes will be banned in the United States.
UPDATE: The final rule was published in the Jan. 23, 2012, Federal Register, as required by law. The ban becomes effective on March 23, 2012.
In its effort to prevent the spread of non-native snakes in the wild in the United States, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today that it will ban the "importation and interstate transportation" of the Burmese python, (Python molurus bivittatus) the northern (Python sebae) and southern African rock pythons, (Python natalensis) and the yellow anaconda (Eunectes notaeus) in two months. The agency will publish its final rule in the Federal Register to make it official. The law will take effect 60 days after publication. The agency lists the species as injurious wildlife under the Lacey Act, which prohibits the trade of species in the United States that are deemed injurious to people, agriculture, horticulture, forestry, wildlife or wildlife resources. The reticulated python (Python reticulatus), boa constrictor ( Boa constrictor imperator), DeSchauensee's anaconda ( Eunectes deschauenseei), green anaconda (Eunectes murinus) and beni anaconda (Eunectes beniensis) may also be banned but no action has yet been taken.
The rule will specifically prohibit the interstate transport and importation live snakes, their viable reproductive assets such as sperm and eggs, or any hybrids of the listed snakes. The rule does not restrict the sales of these snakes within a state as long as buyers don't try to transport the snakes across state lines.
The agency considered approximately 56,500 public comments as well as environmental and economic analysis before announcing the ban. It reports lost economic output between $10.7 million and $21.8 million each year, including the loss of trade in the species listed and loss of spending by those who lose their jobs as a result of the ban.
If state law permits, most owners of these species would be allowed to keep their existing animals, but would be prohibited from moving them across state lines. Businesses would be allowed to export the species within their state from designated ports with a permit from the Fish & Wildlife Service.
H.R. 511 Snake Ban
H.R. 2811 Python and Boa Ban
Senate Bill 373 Python ban
Proposed python ban
Burmese Pythons in the Everglades