Salamanders and Chythrid Fungus
Proposed Salamander Import Moratorium
 
Following a scientific paper released at the end of October by A. Martel et al., there has been activity in D.C. by environmental groups for a temporary moratorium (delay or suspension of an activity) on all salamander imports (captive-bred and wild-caught) into the U.S. These groups include Amphibian Survival Alliance, Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife and others. The mentioned paper can be retrieved at www.sciencemag.org/content/346/6209/630.full?sid=3bba54ea-15a5-4148-bf85-67b7499a8338.

The study discusses a newly-described chytrid fungus, Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bsal or Bs), and the potential threat of this fungus affecting native salamanders in the U.S. Bsal appears to be salamander specific. While the chytrid fungus is not new, the chytrid threat has been elevating in recent years, even affecting very isolated amphibian populations lacking intrusion from humans and modern development. Bsal was found on a 150-year-old museum specimen of an Asian newt after research began. Genetic testing has shown that chytrid fungus has been lurking for 30 million years. While some species are not affected by chytrid, others die if infected. Some species can also be carriers.

A protocol using antimicrobial compounds to prevent the spread of chytrid and other pathogens, as well as swab testing to assure chytrid is not present, at minimum, are being suggested. Another proposal is a certification program based on verified clean sources, reliable testing, treatment or quarantine. Voluntary measures by live animal importers and information/education campaigns will certainly be viewed favorably.

Since the U.S. has the highest Caudate (scientific order, also called Urodela, which includes salamanders, newts, mudpuppies, etc.) diversity of any country at around 200 species, the scientific, conservation and pet herp communities are certainly concerned regarding this issue. It has been shown that animals infected with Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) can be cured of the disease in captivity. If this can be proven for animals infected with Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans, measures could be incorporated to certify healthy animals, including preventative treatments by the exporters.

 
Since an integrated approach to conservation issues and maintaining ecological integrity are vital to USARK's mission, we are concerned with the chytrid threat and will certainly work to prevent harm to native wildlife and captive populations. We will provide updates as they become available.
 
Reptile Events
 
Cin City Reptile Show: December 14 in Mason, OH. More details at www.cincityreptileshow.com.
 
All Ohio Reptile Show: December 20 in Hilliard, OH. More details at www.allohioreptileshows.webs.com.

Indiana Reptile Breeders' Expo: November 22 in Richmond, IN. More details at www.irbexpo.com.

Repticon North Carolina: November 22-23 in Raleigh, NC. Show details at www.repticon.com/raleigh.html.

New York Metro Reptile Expo: November 30 in White Plains, NY. Show details at www.reptileexpo.com/nyfirst.htm.
 
Kentucky Reptile Expo: December 20 in Shepherdsville, KY. More details at www.kentuckyreptileexpo.com/.

Reptile Super Show: January 10-11 in Pomona, CA. Show details at www.reptilesupershow.com.

Portland Metro Reptile Expo: January 17 in Portland, OR. Show details at www.nwreptileexpos.com/portland-metro-reptile-expo.

Midwest Reptile Show: January 18 in Indianapolis, IN. Show details at www.midwestreptile.com/index.php.

NARBC: February 7-8 in Arlington, TX. Show details at www.narbc.com/Arlington/arlington.html.

NARBC: March 14-15 in Tinley Park, IL. Show details at www.narbc.com/Tinley/tinley_park.html.

Texas Rattlesnake Festival: April 11-12 in Round Rock, TX. Details at www.texasrattlesnakefestival.com.

International Herpetological Symposium: May 27-30 in San Antonio, TX. Details at www.internationalherpetologicalsymposium.com.

Reptile Super Show: July 18-19 in San Diego, CA. Show details at www.reptilesupershow.com.

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