The Tarantula Keepers Coalition Announces Statement from USFWS Regarding “Contraband” Species within Tarantula Hobby

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Tarantula Keepers Coalition

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Please see update related to this release: TKC Information Update

Bethpage, NY. (March 5, 2019) The Tarantula Keepers Coalition (TKC), a registered non-profit organization dedicated to representing the interests of U.S. breeders of tarantulas and other arthropods. The organization announced today their recent possession of an official statement from the United States Fish and Wildlife Services (FWS). “This is solid proof that USFWS is backing the opinion we previously announced,” states Garred Martin, one of the TKC directors. “We can now confidently move forward providing guidance to responsible breeders and keepers. The TKC thanks the hobbyist who sought their own answers and brought them to us to share with the community. ”

The law in question, the Lacey Act, requires U.S. citizens to comply with laws enacted in foreign countries, related to flora and fauna endemic to those countries. Brazil has made it known that they have not exported any species of tarantula for commercial purpose therefore all specimens removed from Brazil were done so illegally.

The statement was obtained from a concerned hobbyist who wishes to remain anonymous at this time. An inquiry and multiple follow-ups were made to the FWS regarding the legality of Brazilian species within the United States. The FWS response was as follows:

“Thank you for your inquiry regarding the purchase of Brazilian tarantulas.  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s mission is, working with others, to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people.

The possession and domestic or international trade of illegally imported specimens is prohibited. In addition, any possession or sale of offspring of illegal specimens is also considered illegal.  A specimen that has been traded contrary to foreign government law becomes contraband at the time it enters the jurisdiction of the United States. If such a specimen makes its way into the United States, the individual or business holding or having control of the specimen has no custodial or property rights to the specimen and therefore, no right to possess, transfer, breed or propagate such specimens.

Therefore, the possession, sale or, purchase of Brazilian tarantulas imported contrary to Brazilian government law, or their offspring, is illegal [emphasis by FWS].

Thank you for your cooperation in complying with our regulations that help protect fish, wildlife, and plants and their habitats.  Please feel free to respond to this message with any further inquiries that you may have regarding this matter.”

During further follow-up, the FSW stated, “A specimen that has been traded contrary to any foreign government law becomes contraband at the time it enters the jurisdiction of the United States.”

Therefore, if a species is endemic to multiple countries, it is the responsibility of breeders and keepers to confirm it (or its parent) was not taken from a country which prohibits its exportation. The FWS encouraged interested parties to also refer to CITES.

The FWS was asked to provide a list of species to which breeders and consumers could refer to remain lawful. In response, the FWS emphasized that it is the individual breeder and keeper’s responsibility to research the lineage of their own specimens to ensure it is not in violation of the Lacey Act.

Although unable to provide a list, the FWS did agree to officially confirm specific common pet species as “contraband” when specifically asked. Expressly confirmed contraband species were: Bumba cabocla, Acanthoscurria geniculata, Grammostola pulchra, Typhochlaena seladonia, and Cyriocosmus ritae.

The TKC is sensitive to the concern this news may cause to members of the tarantula keeping community. Within the next few weeks, the TKC will roll out a new consumer guide listing all known species that are contraband or could be contraband, according to this FWS guideline. The TKC encourages all supporters to utilize this information when making purchases. Future plans for this consumer guide include reports on the fragility of given species in their native habitats due to pollution and other human-made disasters. The TKC is diligently researching other countries’ exportation laws in order to provide the most comprehensive information to supporters.

Despite USFWS emphasizing that possession of species endemic to Brazil is illegal, they are not recommending the animals be destroyed or forfeited. If a keeper or breeder has one or more species which are subject to Lacey Act violation, the TKC recommends caring for the animal(s) as usual, but do not sell or trade it to anyone at this time.

The Tarantula Keepers Coalition continues to strive towards policy change to expand and protect the capacity of U.S. breeders to lend their expertise in repopulating and conserving these important animals. For more about their work, please visit www.thetkc.org.

 

Beloved Tarantula Breeder Creates GoFundMe to Rescue Undescribed Species of Tarantulas from Land Clearing in Sri Lanka

Bethpage, NY. (February 12, 2019) The Tarantula Keepers Coalition (TKC), a registered non-profit organization dedicated to representing the interests of U.S. breeders and keepers of tarantulas and other arthropods, launched a new fundraiser featuring one of their directors, Amy Salinas. “We are excited to have Amy helm this particular endeavor,” explained one of Amy’s co-directors, Warren van der Biezen. “Amy loves these animals and people in this community love Amy just the same.”

Salinas is perhaps best known for founding what is undoubtedly one of the most helpful and positive tarantula keeping groups on Facebook. It was her love of educating the masses about tarantulas, and the tarantulas themselves, that brought her to first contact biologist Ranil Nanayakkara. Salinas soon learned that Nanayakkara is working fervently to protect several newly discovered and undescribed species of tarantulas, including the Poecilotheria tarantula (or “Pokie”)–a favorite of Salinas. The TKC previously announced their own partnership with Nanayakkara, last month.

The GoFundMe Campaign seeks to raise $14,000 to accomplish a number of incredible goals. The amount is set to fund purchase of 15 acres of land to protect the land from being cleared and the animals from being killed or displaced. Additionally, the funds will provide for a research facility for Nanayakkara to continue his work researching tarantulas and partnering with local village communities to conserve the native flora and fauna. As a part of this research, Nanayakkara will be able to describe these animals and give them a name.

A personal stretch goal of Salinas is to eventually visit Sri Lanka to observe the species herself. “It’s a dream of mine to take video clips and photos of these animals safe in their home so people can see first-hand the difference their support made.” Although she has no plans for a trip yet, Salinas is content for now to fight for these animals with her friends, across borders.

Supporters of this campaign can visit Help Save Amy’s Pokies at its GoFundMe page. For more information about the TKC, visit the organization’s website www.thetkc.org.

The Tarantula Keepers Coalition Announcement Regarding Exciting New Partnership with Conservation Biologist in Sri Lanka

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Tarantula Keepers Coalition

Media Contact

Email: [email protected]

Website: www.thetkc.org

The Tarantula Keepers Coalition Announcement Regarding Exciting New Partnership with Conservation Biologist in Sri Lanka

Bethpage, NY. (January 25, 2019) The Tarantula Keepers Coalition (TKC), a registered non-profit organization dedicated to representing the interests of U.S. breeders and keepers of tarantulas and other arthropods, announced today their partnership with Conservation Biologist, Ranil P. Nanayakkara. The TKC and Nanayakkara share in common a passion for the research and conservation of Sri Lankan species of Mygalomorph spiders.  

Continue reading “The Tarantula Keepers Coalition Announcement Regarding Exciting New Partnership with Conservation Biologist in Sri Lanka”

The Tarantula Keepers Coalition Statement Regarding the Importation and Interstate Sale of Brazilian Endemic Spiders

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Tarantula Keepers Coalition

Media Contact

Email: [email protected]

Website: www.thetkc.org

The Tarantula Keepers Coalition Statement Regarding the Importation and Interstate Sale of Brazilian Endemic Spiders 

Bethpage, NY. (January 8, 2019) The Tarantula Keepers Coalition (TKC), a registered non-profit organization dedicated to representing the interests of U.S. breeders of tarantulas and other arthropods, announced today their statement regarding Brazilian endemic spiders. This statement comes in response to a July 2018 United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) seizure of Brazilian endemic animals from a U.S. breeder. “Since that initial seizure, there has been no official statement by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,” explains Quentin Salinas, one board member of TKC. “We have received no guidance pertaining to the subsequent and continued enforcement of the law.”

Continue reading “The Tarantula Keepers Coalition Statement Regarding the Importation and Interstate Sale of Brazilian Endemic Spiders”

Mission Statement

“To be the greater voice of the invertebrate keeping community.”

 

It is our goal to reduce government overreach pertaining to the Lacey Act in regard to the restriction of captive produced invertebrates.

 

TKC aims to safeguard the unhindered continuation of captive breeding of invertebrates in the United States tarantula community, ensuring threatened or endangered invertebrates will continue to be produced in an effort to teach, repopulate, and conserve.

 

About us: The Tarantula Keepers Coalition was created by a board of avid and motivated individuals hailing from many interdisciplinary backgrounds; creating a diverse and extremely knowledgeable collaboration. All of our board members are dedicated invertebrate keepers who are anchored into the community, and thus want nothing but the best for the practice as a whole.

 

The Tarantula Keepers Coalition intends to be an emphatic and assertive force on the behalf of all invertebrate enthusiasts. While we are aware that there are organizations that give our community a voice, and we do plan to unite with said organizations in order to facilitate our goals, we do not feel that a voice significant enough is given; a voice that the community deserves. The voice of the invertebrate keeper will not come second hand, as it often does, channeled through the TKC.

 

The TKC is an official and recognized not for profit 501(c)3 organization, meaning our corporation is fully operated on donated proceeds, of which we intend to be entirely transparent in our usage of.