TKC US Population Project Update: P. fasciata


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.

The Breeders

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) :

  • Edward Addams
  • Corey Felter of Sinister Arachnids
  • Kelly Fornez of KF Invertebrates
  • Brian & Stephanie Griggs
  • William Hiett of Panhandle Arachnids
  • Caleb Hill
  • Cristoffer Hinshaw
  • Chris Minks
  • Natalee M of Natalee’s 8 Legged Journey
  • Jodi Newago
  • Zac Oddo
  • Aaron Singleton 
  • Brandon Tucker

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.

The Arrangement

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.

TKC Information Update

AN IMPORTANT UPDATE!

To our community of dedicated followers, we cannot thank you enough. The amount of shares and traffic to our website is incredible. Thank you for all the questions you have brought to us. Please keep them coming! Our team works hard to see that no question goes unanswered. It is part of our mission to provide the most accurate, up-to-date information that we have. We believe that transparency is the best policy. Therefore, we believe it is necessary to share with you any information that is presented to us. This information is not intended as guidance for hobbyist, vendors, or importers; but as a tool in making informed decisions.

After our previous press release went live, board member, Garred Martin, was able to get connected via phone call with Special Agent in Charge at United States Fish & Wildlife Services (FWS), Dan Coil. Special Agent Coil, who works in law enforcement policy and analysis, is stationed at the Virginia headquarters. Garred sought clarification of the information that was given to us by the concerned hobbyist (see March 7, 2019 Press Release). Garred advocated to Special Agent Coil the worries of hobbyists, vendors, and importers, and expressed that the community is in need of an official statement from FWS to be made public. Special Agent Coil provided many answers before Garred began asking questions. This has been applied now to all Brazilian imports of flora and fauna and tarantulas were not singled-out, according to Special Agent Coil.

We discovered some discrepancy between the actual law and how FWS intends on enforcing it. Although the information we’ve received has been correct thus far, how the law would be enforced has only been based on opinion and interpretation of the law. Until they release their statement in the next month, FWS employees only have the Lacey Act to go by. They have been accurate in their answers because they have simply sited the the Lacey Act. They have not had answers for us on how they intend on enforcing the law.

“There seem to be some misconceptions.” says Garred. “From the start of this, the TKC has been attempting to form a good relationship with FWS. We are in no way trying to fight them or push any issue. We do not know why, but we do know FWS headquarters sent a request to Brazil for information regarding their tarantula species. Brazil replied that none of their species were ever exported for commercial purpose. As soon as Brazil was willing to put that in writing, FWS had no choice but to enforce importation of ALL Brazilian species. This was all confirmed in my phone conversation with Special Agent Dan Coil. No amount of pushing or fighting it would have changed the chain of events to follow.”

Questions and Answers

Garred was given permission to share the content of the phone call with Special Agent Coil. Special Agent Coil explained that using direct quotes would require a lengthy process of approval and thus delay his ability to answer our urgent questions, although he would agree to release one if we wished to go that route. We were granted permission to paraphrase and give credit to Special Agent Coil. Please note that we have used Special Agent Coil’s real name and station location and are thus not preventing anyone from verifying this reported encounter.



Why are their imports being seized and what measure should importers take?

Answer: From what we understand, species found in Brazil have been seized and are at risk of law enforcement action, as they are in violation of the Lacey Act. Importers should do their due diligence to not import any species endemic to Brazil. Importers should expect to be required to show proof of origin of any species, regardless of its country of origin, if that species can also be found in Brazil.

What about these species that were already legally cleared at port and are in the hobby?  Are they deemed illegal to trade, sell, and keep?

Answer: From what we understand, if FWS legally cleared the animals before this new ruling then it is indeed safe to keep, trade, sell and breed such species without the fear of being prosecuted or worry of committing a crime.

Are we able to get an official outline to send out to the entire hobby?

Answer: FWS has an official bulletin regarding this issue which is currently in review. It is anticipated that the bulletin will be released within one month. . FWS has also offered to have an agent present with the TKC at our first gathering at the Show Me Spiders Tarantula Takeover in April. This will be to answer questions and give insight of the work of FWS and future of our hobby, which we intend to livestream for those of you not able to attend.

More from Garred Martin

“Since this is an all new situation for the tarantula hobby,” explained Garred. “The opinions and advice given by FWS employees have changed over the past several months. None of what we have reported was meant to be taken as the way things are. The things we have reported have simply been what FWS has told members of the TKC, as well as others. The intention of the most recent release, from my understanding, should’ve been to report strictly as opinion and as an example of how FWS are responding to such inquiries.”

“Being as Special Agent Coil works in policy and analysis, I believe this is the most accurate opinion of how things will play out.” Garred continued. “Even still, I was told it would be thirty (30) days before a public announcement is made by FWS and these policies are finalized. That said, it is still possible that things may change between now and when the statement comes out. My understanding of what was said is that from now on, or until something changes, all species found on Brazil will be illegal to import. Species that occur in, but are not endemic to, Brazil will require documentation proving that these species were legally imported from the other country of origin. In other words, if a species is found in Brazil and Uruguay, FWS will require documentation proving that the ancestors originated in Uruguay.”

“The good news is that I was told what’s in is in and that if an endemic Brazilian species came into the country on a legal import and was cleared by FWS or customs, they would not be considered illegal. No one will be coming to people’s houses or businesses, or pursuing legal action against those that own or sell these species. It was my understanding that whether the species were let in because customs or FWS missed them on the import, didn’t check or simply didn’t know the law at that time, they would not be going after the individuals that imported these species. This is great news for the US hobby because if things are written as I was told they will be, we will be able to continue to breed, sell and transfer Brazilian species that have already come into the country.”

“Again, until that public statement is released, we are still not 100% sure.” Martin reminds supporters. “For now, all we can do is wait for the official public announcement and anticipate that what I was told while become the norm. We continue to strive to build a positive, long lasting relationship with FWS so we can work together on common goals. We plan to help implement sensible legislation on conservation that is in the best interest of the hobby as well as the animals in question. I personally am very grateful for Special Agent Coil’s offer to speak with our community, at our event. We look forward to planning this for our supporters.” 

The TKC will continue to provide updates and correspondence from FWS and any other government source we can. We understand that the encounters we report are not always what our supporters wish to hear and are not always found helpful by everyone. As an organization, we decided that it is better to report what correspondence we have as opposed to not reporting our communications at all. We anticipate most of our supporters understand and agree.

Our efforts to receive clarification from FWS and to research legislative options provided us with greater direction as an organization. Thus, we are confident we have much to offer our supporters in terms of offering membership and membership benefits. This will occur in the near future. Additionally, we plan to release a platform that will allow members to voice their opinions collectively. We anticipate these next steps will be the momentum the community needs to modernize the laws that impact our lives.

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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”