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Stop the Proliferation of Invasive Species and Protect Wildlife

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Stop the Proliferation of Invasive Species and Protect Wildlife

Each year, millions of wild animals are imported into the U.S., mostly for sale as exotic “pets.” This trade has already exposed U.S. citizens to the potentially deadly monkeypox virus, which was carried into the U.S. by Gambian pouched rats imported from Africa and destined for the exotic pet trade. In Florida, so many dangerous Burmese pythons have been freed from people’s homes that they’ve established an actual wild population.

Sadly, the methods used to eradicate exotic species after they become established in our communities are inhumane, ineffective, and costly.

The Nonnative Wildlife Invasion Prevention Act (H.R. 669), introduced by the Congressional Delegate from Guam, Madeleine Bordallo, is designed to prevent the infiltration of non-native wildlife species that may negatively impact the economy, environment, human health, native wildlife or other animal species.

Representative Bordallo, who Chairs the House Natural Resources Committee’s Subcommittee on Insular Affairs, Oceans and Wildlife, needs all the support she can get to move her bill in the face of strong opposition from the pet industry.

Please contact your Member of Congress in Washington, DC right away in support of H.R. 669.

About the Bill

The Nonnative Wildlife Invasion Prevention Act will require the Secretary of Interior, acting through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, to establish a process for assessing the risk of all non-native wildlife species proposed for importation into the United States other than those included in a list of “approved species” issued under this Act.

“Approved species” are those wildlife species deemed not to be a threat. In addition, the import and trade in domesticated animals will not be affected by this bill.

Factors that must be considered in determining whether a wildlife species is prohibited or “approved” include the identity of the organism to the species level, the native range of the species, whether the species has caused harm to the economy, the environment, or other animal species or human health in similar ecosystems, and the likelihood of establishment or spread of the species in the United States.

There will be ample opportunity for public comment before any species is placed on the “approved” or “prohibited” list.

If a person currently cares for a species that is later added to the prohibited list, that person may continue to provide care for that individual animal. The bill states:

“this act and regulations issued under this Act shall not interfere with the ability of any person to possess an individual animal of any species if such individual animal was legally owned by the person before the risk assessment is begun pursuant to subsection (e)(3), even if such species is later prohibited from being imported under the regulations issues under this Act.”

The bill will prevent individuals from breeding and selling prohibited wild animals as “pets” or other purposes. This is common sense. If a non-native wildlife species is deemed a threat to human health, the environment, or native wildlife, then the species should not be bred and sold for commercial profit.

In addition, similar to the Endangered Species Act and the Wild Bird Conservation Act, this bill allows for permits to be issued for purposes that aid in the conservation of the species.

Take Action

Please ask your U.S. Representative to support H.R. 669, the Nonnative Wildlife Invasion Prevention Act, and do everything possible to pass this important legislation.

You can also reach your legislator through the Capitol switchboard at (202) 225-3121.

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