The Alabama Department of Natural Resources had proposed new regulations that will impact some herpetoculturists. Comments are due Thursday, August 4, 2022. Read the proposal at https://www.outdooralabama.com/sites/default/files/220-2-.92.pdf.
Public hearing and comments:
The public hearing is 10:00 AM on August 4 at the Folsom Administrative Building Room 474, 64 N. Union Street, Montgomery, Alabama. You must provide notice of appearance to speak at least 48 hours in advance to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Written comments must be submitted by August 4 to email@example.com or mail to Charles Sykes, 64 N. Union Street, Montgomery, AL 36130. The phone number is 334-242-3465.
Changes of note:
- Makes all king snakes ( Lampropeltis spp. ) and hybrids illegal to own, breed, and sell without a scientific collection permit or permit from the Commissioner. Currently, only Eastern, prairie, and black “speckled” king snakes are listed.
- Makes it illegal to own more than one box turtle (all Terrapene spp. ) or sell/trade a box turtle without a scientific collection permit or permit from the Commissioner.
- There are other new rules including, but not limited to, additional protected nongame species and Eastern diamondback rattlesnake regulations.
- The full proposal can be read at https://www.outdooralabama.com/sites/default/files/220-2-.92.pdf.
Advisory Board phone numbers and district map: At this link you can find which Advisory Board member represents you. If you call, PLEASE be civil and professional. Acting differently will only hurt our efforts. Remember that Advisory Board members did not propose this. They must be educated on the topic that ADCNR staff has proposed. https://usark.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/07/ADCNR-Board-2022.pdf
Sample letter (remember to be civil and professional)
Subject line: Opposition to 220-2-.92 Protected Nongame Species Amendments
Alabama Department of Natural Resources Advisory Board Members and Staff,
As an Alabama resident and conservationist, I oppose the short-sighted amendments to the ADCNR Protected Nongame Species regulation. My two points of concern with the current proposal are:
- ban on possession, propagation, and sales of all king snake species ( Lampropeltis spp. ),
- ban on propagation, sales, and possession of more than one box turtle ( Terrapene spp. ).
While I fully support protecting our native species in the wild (and contribute to their conservation myself), these proposed bans lack forethought and logic. First, many species of both king snakes and box turtles are not native to Alabama. For state non-native species, and also natives, many people have been breeding them under human care for multiple generations over many decades. There is almost no market for wild-caught king snakes as people buying them want captive-bred animals. Regarding box turtles, illogical bans actually encourage and drive the demand higher for wild-caught animals. When we are not allowed to keep and breed these animals, the demand does not decrease. Instead, the illegal black market prices skyrocket and poaching actually increases rather than decreases. We have witnessed this for many U.S species including box turtles, spotted turtles, and diamondback terrapins. Bans are a backward approach that make the problem worse!
For king snakes, many species are very popular as pets and are sold in all pet stores selling reptiles, including major chains. Again, these are captive-bred and not wild-collected animals! The sales of these snakes bred under human care protect the wild populations while also increasing the global populations. This regulation will impact many Alabama residents, especially those who break this new law as they would never imagine that species common as pets for decades have been banned. Studies have shown that over 250,000 Alabama residents have pet reptiles. Is the plan to make criminals of many of these responsible pet owners? Even if grandfather permits are allowed, many pet owners will never know that their innocuous pets now require permits.
ADCNR needs to rethink this proposal or our wild populations of these species will actually be harmed rather than helped. In-state herpetoculturists (people who keep reptiles and amphibians) are always willing to work with ADCNR but the agency does not utilize our willingness to collaborate. Please stop these bans and create a legitimate regulation to protect these species. Have a good day.