The Tarantula Keepers Coalition has added a new fundraiser to its current efforts. Please visit the Go Fund Me page to add your support. The fundraiser reads:
There are only a few hobbyists that do not know Tom Patterson who is well-known in keeping and breeding tarantulas for over 20 years. Tom has helped thousands of hobbyists become responsible keepers through his art, photography and his importing and breeding projects. Tom has provided fellow hobbyists with rare insights into the incredible spiders that would otherwise go unseen. He is about to embark on another big project and needs your support. Tom is fighting the forfeiture of his tarantulas and possible civil penalties!
Specifically, a Brazilian agency and regulation is the Instituto Brasileiro do Meio Ambiente a dos Recursos Naturais Renovaveis Ordinance No. 93/1998 (July 7, 1998) published in Portuguese. This Brazilian ordinance prohibits trade in flora and fauna and Tom is an unsuspecting victim entrapped for importing spiders.
If you are not familiar with the legal issue regarding Brazilian species, please read this carefully to get informed. In July of 2018, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) confiscated an import of Typhochlaena seladonia (T. seladonia) from Tom – a licensed and credential importer, who had the proper documentation. The reason for seizure was not faulty documents rather an obscure Brazilian agency ordinance never published nor listed by CITES or the U.S. government. To this day USFWS has made no announcement, regulation or given any guidelines as to whether T. seladonia can be imported and places the burden on you, the importer, to know this Brazilian ordinance, which is in the Portuguese language.
In summary, the USFWS is seizing property, in this case the T. seladonia, from U.S. citizens based upon a foreign ordinance without ever providing notice and due process to the importer. Until your import is seized, you do not know if some foreign country has an agency ordinance that would hold you in violation of a foreign rule. If a specimen is not listed under CITES or the U.S. Endangered Species Act how do you know if you can legally import any specimen because of a foreign regulation? At this time all you know is that T. seladonia is unlawful because Brazil said so back in 1998!
The larger legal battle is how many other unknown foreign agency ordinances will the USFWS enforce against unsuspecting law-abiding U.S. hobbyists? This lack of clarity places all flora and fauna importers at risk. Nothing short of a successful court battle can stop the USFWS from using this same vague enforcement from other foreign countries and placing all hobbyistsin financial jeopardy and causing many a sleepless night. Think? Is there a foreign ordinance you have violated while believing you were complying with CITES and ESA? How would you know without researching every country of the species origin?
Tom has retained a law office and has support from the Tarantula Keeper’s Coalition (TKC) to challenge the USFWS in the U.S. federal court system to clarify and correct this injustice. This legal issue is bigger than achieving justice for Tom and is a legal fight for all who might be subject to a foreign agency regulation passed by a foreign government yet enforced against a U.S. Citizen.
When import laws lack transparency, the demand for illegal poaching or “brown boxing” increases. We believe that responsible, legal trade avenues are vital to combating poaching behavior that threatens the safety and longevity of wild tarantula populations. Your gift today will help Tom challenge the USFWS in court. Friends of Tom ask our allies in the community to join this legal fight for everyone. Thank you.
The Tarantula Keepers Coalition US Population Project is in full swing! (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, click here!) The first leg of the TKC US Population Project included Poecilotheria fasciata, which were bred from fellow TKC board members Quentin and Amy Salina’s male and our female. We each donated our half of the sac to be distributed across the United States.
A Big THANK YOU!
Firstly, we would like to thank everyone who has supported the TKC and shown interest in the US Population Project. We received an overwhelming response from breeders requesting to participating in the Poecilotheria fasciata project; more requests than we had sets of spiderlings to give. We wish we could send a set to everyone who submitted a request. Anyone who did not receive a set this time will remain in our records for the next P. fasciata project.
Most importantly, we want to welcome the breeders who were chosen to join the TKC US Population Project: P. fasciata. We are proud to work with this diverse group of breeders and look forward to many breeding projects. The TKC is very grateful for the support and enthusiasm we’ve seen already.
The following breeders were chosen for the TKC US PP (P. fasciata) :
Corey Felter of Sinister Arachnids
Kelly Fornez of KF Invertebrates
Brian & Stephanie Griggs
William Hiett of Panhandle Arachnids
Natalee M of Natalee’s 8 Legged Journey
The breeders were chosen based on a number of aspects. The main factors were location and experience. First, we identified which states in the US were lacking in P. fasciata via a survey in the Tarantula Community Facebook group. The location of the breeders was then looked at and we removed those in states that were covered. We then looked at experience. In the end, Amy ended up getting another half of a sac and we were able to invite a few more requestees to participate.
Upon agreeing to join the TKC US Population Project, the breeders agreed to a few simple stipulations.
Each breeder paid for shipping of their set of P. fasciata.
Each breeder also agreed to donate half of any successful sacs, that they procure from the three P. fasciata, to the TKC for further distribution across the United States.
In addition, each breeder agreed to send any males they get from these three P. fasciata to the TKC once they mature, if the TKC so needs.
Furthermore, each breeder also agreed to let me mention them in this blog. However, this was not a stipulation, but an option. I want to thank all of our breeders for allowing me to give them credit. 🙂
The Tarantula Keepers Coalition will have be initiating the next leg of our US Population Project with Poecilotheria vitatta slings in the near future. Be sure to follow us on Facebook to stay up to date. Watch for the post announcing that we are accepting breeder requests and instructions on how to get involved.
As always, we want to thank our supporters. From the bottom of our hearts, your support means the world to us. We invite you to join us on Facebook in our TKC Duscussion group. We look forward to talking with you.
A message from our biologist partner in Sri Lanka; to our wonderful supporters and any concerned individuals.
Please take a moment to consider what our friend is asking of us. If we can raise $7000 by the end of this month (we’re already over $1500!), and the other $7000 by May 20, we can help Ranil secure this land. Imagine a trip to Sri Lanka in 2023 to tour the research station and spend a few days out in the field with Ranil, observing these new species he has discovered. If we help him secure this land, it’s very likely that that could happen.
You may have heard talk of a project that we are kicking off. We call it the TKC US Population Project and I’m going to tell you a little bit about it. We’re pretty excited!
TKC US Population Project
This idea was born in the Tarantula Keepers Coalition board chat months ago when we were discussing the Sri Lanka Pokie restrictions. Several of the board members have a deep passion for the Poecilotheria genus and had Sri Lankan species breeding projects at the time. We wanted to distribute the spiderlings to other breeders to help ensure they thrive in the United States. Collectively, we decided it would be best to donate the spiderlings to the TKC. We created a program to allow us to ensure the spiderlings we procure be distributed to breeders across the country. We hope to ultimately have at least one breeder in each of the contiguous United States consistently breeding these species.
This project aligns with another project we have in the works, wherein we will be having our stock DNA tested. TKC directors will be paying out-of-pocket to have our Poecilotheria species DNA tested and we will document the whole process.
If the Brazil situation goes as Special Agent Dan Coil suggested (see our interpretation of director Garred Martin’s conversation with Special Agent Coil here), the TKC will also include Brazilian endemics in our US Population Project and do our best to help the United States self-sustain and the species to thrive in the US hobby.
The Tarantula Keepers board of directors will be holding a meeting next week to discuss the email applications we have received. We will then decide who we will be sending spiderlings to. There was an overwhelming response to our Facebook post, receiving more emails than we have spiderlings. We will not be able to send spiderlings to everyone who applied because of this. However, you will remain in our data base for the next time we have Poecilotheria fasciata available. Breeders are responsible for shipping charges. Spiderlings will begin to ship to breeders the 2nd week of April.
We appreciate the particulation we are seeing in this project. Together, we can keep these species alive and well in the US.
Interested in Donating Spiderlings/Entering a Breeder Contract with the TKC?
If you are a breeder and have Sri Lanken Pokie projects, please keep us in mind when you have spiderlings. The directors intend on donating all our Sri Lanken Poecilotheria spiderlings to the TKC for this project. The TKC is also open to breeding projects so if you have a mature male or mature female of any of the Sri Lanken Poecilotheria and are interested in entering a breeding contract with the TKC, let us know!