Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Reclassifying the Golden Conure From Endangered to Threatened With a Section 4(d) Rule, 22653-22663 [2020-07571]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 79 / Thursday, April 23, 2020 / Rules and Regulations lotter on DSKBCFDHB2PROD with RULES section 642’s effective date, rendering notice and comment prior to extending the effective date ‘‘unnecessary.’’ In addition, in light of the disruptive effect of the national emergency on the daily activities of entities subject to section 642 and other interested parties, and the need for MVPDs and providers of fixed broadband internet access service to focus their resources on the national emergency, we find that delaying relief under the circumstances would not serve the purpose of the extension and would fail to yield the public interest benefits that notice and comment procedures are designed to produce.5 5. Because this blanket extension does not require notice and comment pursuant to the ‘‘good cause’’ exception of the Administrative Procedure Act, the Regulatory Flexibility Act does not apply. 6. This Order does not contain new or modified information collection requirements subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA). In addition, therefore, it does not contain any new or modified information collection burden for small business concerns with fewer than 25 employees, pursuant to the Small Business Paperwork Relief Act of 2002. 7. The Commission has determined, and the Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget, concurs that this rule is ‘‘non-major’’ under the Congressional Review Act, 5 U.S.C. 804(2). The Commission will send a copy of the Order to Congress and the Government Accountability Office pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 801(a)(1)(A). 8. Accordingly, it is ordered that, pursuant to the authority found in sections 4(i), 4(j), and 303(r) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. 154(i), 154(j), 303(r), section 1004 of the Television Viewer Protection Act of 2019, section 553(b)(3)(B) of the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. 553, and sections 0.5(c) and 0.283 of the Commission’s rules, 47 CFR 0.5(c), 0.283, this Order is adopted. It is further ordered that, pursuant to section 1.113(a) of the Commission’s rules, 47 CFR 1.113(a), the March 16, 2020 Public Notice in MB Docket No. 20–61 is hereby rescinded. It is further ordered that this Order shall be effective upon publication in the Federal Register.6 It is 5 Although the pleading cycle for the Public Notice was scheduled to conclude on April 13, 2020, given our finding of good cause to dispense with public comment, we hereby rescind the Public Notice. 6 The blanket extension adopted herein serves to ‘‘reliev[e] a restriction.’’ For similar reasons, there is also good cause to make this Order effective upon VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:15 Apr 22, 2020 Jkt 250001 further ordered that, should no petitions for reconsideration be timely filed, MB Docket No. 20–61 shall be terminated, and its docket closed. Federal Communications Commission. Thomas Horan, Media Bureau. [FR Doc. 2020–07968 Filed 4–22–20; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6712–01–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service 50 CFR Part 17 [Docket No. FWS–HQ–ES–2015–0019; 4500090024] RIN 1018–BC78 Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Reclassifying the Golden Conure From Endangered to Threatened With a Section 4(d) Rule Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior. ACTION: Final rule. AGENCY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), reclassify the golden conure (Gauruba guarouba) under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act), from endangered to threatened on the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife (List). Our determination is based on a thorough review of the best available scientific and commercial information, which indicates that the golden conure no longer meets the definition of an endangered species, but is likely to become an endangered species within the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its range. We are also establishing a rule pursuant to section 4(d) of the Act for the golden conure to provide for its further conservation. Additionally, this final rule updates the List to reflect the latest scientifically accepted taxonomy and nomenclature for the species as Guaruba guarouba, golden conure. DATES: This rule is effective May 26, 2020. SUMMARY: Comments and materials received, as well as supporting documentation used in the preparation of this rule, are available for public inspection at http:// www.regulations.gov under Docket No. FWS–HQ–ES–2015–0019. ADDRESSES: Federal Register publication, in order to provide certainty to affected providers during the current emergency as to the effective date of the new requirements. PO 00000 Frm 00073 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 22653 Don Morgan, Chief, Branch of Delisting and Foreign Species, Ecological Services, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, MS: ES, 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041–3803; telephone, 703–358–2444. If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), call the Federal Relay Service at 800–877–8339. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Previous Federal Actions On September 5, 2018, we published in the Federal Register (83 FR 45073) our 12-month finding on a petition to remove the golden conure from the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife (i.e., ‘‘delist’’ the species) or to reclassify the golden conure from an endangered to a threatened species (i.e., ‘‘downlist’’ the species) determining that reclassification was warranted. Accordingly, we published a proposed rule to downlist the golden conure under the Act (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) and proposed a rule pursuant to section 4(d) to further the conservation of the golden conure. Please refer to that document for information on Federal actions occurring before September 5, 2018, for the golden conure. Summary of Changes From the Proposed Rule During the comment period on our September 5, 2018, proposed rule (83 FR 45073), we received updated information regarding the golden conure reintroduction program occurring in the Bele´m region of Para´ at Utinga State Park. We have incorporated this information under Conservation Measures and Regulatory Mechanisms in this rule and have updated the species status assessment (SSA) report. Background A thorough review of the taxonomy, life history, ecology, and overall viability of the golden conure is presented in the species status assessment (SSA) report for the golden conure (Service 2018; available at Docket No. FWS–HQ–ES–2015–0019 on http://www.regulations.gov). The SSA report documents the results of the comprehensive biological study for the golden conure and provides an account of the species’ overall viability through forecasting of the species’ condition in the future (Service 2018, entire). In the SSA report, we summarize the relevant biological data and a description of past, present, and likely future stressors, and we conduct an analysis of the viability of the species. The SSA report provides the scientific basis that informs our statutory decision regarding whether this species should be listed as an E:\FR\FM\23APR1.SGM 23APR1 22654 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 79 / Thursday, April 23, 2020 / Rules and Regulations endangered or a threatened species under the Act. This decision involves the application of standards within the Act, its implementing regulations, and Service policies (see Determination, below). The SSA report contains the risk analysis on which this determination is based, and the following discussion is a summary of the results and conclusions from the SSA report. We solicited peer review of the draft SSA report from five qualified experts. We received responses from four of the reviewers, and we modified the SSA report as appropriate. In addition to our SSA report, the summary of the biological background of the species can also be found in our September 5, 2018, proposed rule (83 FR 45073). lotter on DSKBCFDHB2PROD with RULES Summary of Factors Affecting the Species Section 4 of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1533) and its implementing regulations (50 CFR part 424) set forth the procedures for determining whether a species is an ‘‘endangered species’’ or a ‘‘threatened species.’’ The Act defines an endangered species as a species that is ‘‘in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range,’’ and a threatened species as a species that is ‘‘likely to become an endangered species within the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its range.’’ The Act directs us to determine whether any species is an endangered species or a threatened species because of one or more of the following factors affecting its continued existence: (A) The present or threatened destruction, modification, or curtailment of its habitat or range; (B) overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or educational purposes; (C) disease or predation; (D) the inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms; or (E) other natural or manmade factors affecting its continued existence. We completed a comprehensive assessment of the biological status of the golden conure, and prepared a report of the assessment, which provides a thorough account of the species’ overall viability. In the discussion below, we summarize the conclusions of that SSA, which can be accessed at Docket No. FWS–HQ–ES–2015–0019 on http:// www.regulations.gov. Please refer to the SSA report and the Summary of Factors Affecting the Species section in the proposed rule (83 FR 45073, September 5, 2018, pp. 45077–45080) for a more detailed discussion of the factors affecting the golden conure. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:13 Apr 22, 2020 Jkt 250001 Habitat Loss—Deforestation Large-scale deforestation in the Amazon has occurred since the 1970s and 1980s concurrent with the growth of Brazil’s economy (GFA 2017, unpaginated). The Brazilian Amazon is approximately the size of Western Europe, and as of 2016, an area the size of France has been lost to deforestation (Fearnside 2017a, pp. 1, 3). Approximately 30 to 35 percent of the golden conure’s range has already been lost to deforestation, primarily in the eastern states of Para´ and Maranha˜o (Laranjeiras 2011a, unpaginated; Laranjeiras and Cohn-Haft 2009, p. 8), and another 23 to 30 percent of the golden conure’s habitat is predicted to be lost within 22 years or three generations (Bird et al. 2011, appendix S1). The golden conure’s range partially overlaps what is known as the ‘‘arc of deforestation,’’ an area in the southeastern Amazon where rates of deforestation and forest fragmentation have been the highest (Prioste et al. 2012, p. 701; Laranjeiras 2011a, unpaginated; Laranjeiras and Cohn-Haft 2009, p. 8). After a long period of deforestation in the Amazon, rates of deforestation dropped dramatically to levels not recorded in recent decades (Alves et al. 2017, p. 76). However, despite declines in the deforestation rate, the total area deforested in Brazil’s Amazon has risen steadily since deforestation rates were first measured in 1988 (IPAM 2017, p. 7 using PRODES 2017 data). More recently, deforestation rates are increasing again (Fearnside 2017b, p. 1; IPAM 2017, p. 15; Biderman and Nogueron 2016, unpaginated), as global demand for agricultural commodities continues to rise (Brando et al. 2016, abstract), and the ‘‘arc of deforestation’’ is likely to continue to be a hotspot (Alves et al. 2017, p. 76). Forest habitat degradation and fragmentation typically begin with road construction and subsequent human settlement. Nearly 95 percent of all deforestation occurred within 5.5 kilometers (km) (3.4 miles (mi)) of roads or 1 km (0.6 mi) of rivers (Barber et al. 2014, pp. 203, 205, 208). Roads are rapidly expanding in the region and contribute to further habitat degradation and fragmentation (Barber et al. 2014, p. 203). Logging in the Amazon was once restricted to areas bordering major rivers, but the construction of highways and strategic access roads and the depletion of hardwood stocks in the south of Brazil made logging an important, growing industry (Verı´ssimo et al. 1992, p. 170). Logging operations PO 00000 Frm 00074 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 typically occur on private lands (GFA 2018a and b, unpaginated). After logging, the land may be clear-cut and burned, in preparation for crops (Reynolds 2003, p. 10). Although the Brazilian forest code requires private landowners in the Amazon to maintain 80 percent of their land as forest, the code has been poorly enforced (GFA 2018b, unpaginated), and full compliance has not been achieved (Azevedo et al. 2017, entire; see Conservation Measures and Regulatory Mechanisms, below). Logging on public lands is allowed via concessions where logging companies are granted logging rights for a fee (GFA 2018a, unpaginated). However, the concession system is not currently working as intended, and illegal logging in public protected areas remains a serious threat, particularly logging of mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla) (BLI 2016, p. 5), a CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) Appendix II species (CITES 2018b). Although selective logging and requirements for minimum tree sizes are intended to minimize effects to the forest, logging of larger trees is likely to have a greater effect on the golden conure because the species uses larger, older trees for its nesting and roosting (Yamashita 2003, p. 38). Expanding crop production and ranching are also major drivers of deforestation in the Amazon basin. Soy beans are primarily used for cattle feed, and in the 1990s and early 2000s, high demand for beef created a ‘‘soy-cattle pasture deforestation dynamic,’’ where soy production replaced existing cattle pasture, and forced new deforestation into the Amazon for cattle ranching (GFA 2018c, unpaginated). In the 2 years preceding the moratorium (instituted in 2006), approximately 30 percent of soy expansion occurred through deforestation rather than by replacement of pasture or other previously cleared lands; by 2014, just 1 percent of soy expansion was responsible for deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon (Gibbs et al. 2015, p. 377). The soy moratorium was renewed indefinitely in 2016, or until it is no longer needed (Patin˜o 2016, unpaginated). Cattle ranching is the largest cause of deforestation in every Amazon country and is responsible for about 80 percent of current deforestation rates (GFA 2018d, unpaginated). Brazil is the largest beef exporter in the world, supplying about one quarter of the world market (GFA 2018d, unpaginated). In 2015 and 2016, new markets for Brazilian beef were opened E:\FR\FM\23APR1.SGM 23APR1 lotter on DSKBCFDHB2PROD with RULES Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 79 / Thursday, April 23, 2020 / Rules and Regulations up via agreements with Russia, the United States, and China (Fearnside 2017b, p. 14). The Chinese market, in particular, has significant potential demand for both beef and leather, with China being the world’s largest manufacturer of shoes (Fearnside 2017b, p. 16). Conversion of native forest for the cultivation of palm plantations for the production of palm oil is likely to further reduce the amount of habitat available to the golden conure. The Brazilian government plans to increase biofuel production in the next decade, driven primarily by demands for fuel (ethanol and biodiesel) (Villela et al. 2014, p. 273). A recent study of regional avian biodiversity in palm oil plantations concluded that they are as detrimental to avian biodiversity as other forms of agriculture such as cattle pasture (Lees et al. 2015, entire). Therefore, any native forest converted to palm plantations will result in habitat loss for the golden conure, and any degraded land that is planted for palm oil will not regenerate or be restored to suitable habitat for the species. Increased fire risk from human settlement and the activities noted above further contribute to deforestation (Barber et al. 2014, p. 203) (see Projected Effects from Climate Change, below). Fire for land management is now common in rural Amazonia (Malhi et al. 2008, p. 171), but wildfires in tropical forests of the Amazon were rare over the past millennia, and trees are not adapted for fire (Fearnside 2009, p. 1005). Amazonian trees have thin bark and fire heats the cambium under the bark at the base of the trunk, causing the tree to die and further contributing to deforestation (Fearnside 2009, p. 1005). Hydroelectric dams are also a major contributor to deforestation in the Amazon. Brazil is the second-largest producer of hydroelectricity in the world (after China), and hydropower supplies about 75 percent of Brazil’s electricity (GFA 2018e, unpaginated; Fearnside 2017c, unpaginated). The Brazilian government recently announced an end to the construction of large dams in the Amazon (Branford 2018, unpaginated), but smaller dams within the golden conure’s range are still under construction or planned (GFA 2018e, unpaginated; Fearnside 2017c, unpaginated; Nobre et al. 2016, p. 10763). Mining for minerals also contributes to deforestation of the Amazon; it grew from 1.6 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2000, to 4.1 percent in 2011, and is projected to increase by a factor of 3 to 5 by 2030 (Brasil Ministe´rio de Minas e Energia 2010, as VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:13 Apr 22, 2020 Jkt 250001 cited by Ferreira et al. 2014, p. 706). Mining leases, exploration permits, and concessions collectively encompass 1.65 million square kilometers (km2) (0.64 million square miles (mi2)) of land, with about 60 percent located in the Amazon forest (Departamento Nacional de Produc¸a˜o Mineral 2012, as cited in Sonter et al. 2017, p. 1). Deforestation Rates and Gross Domestic Product Annual deforestation rates in the Brazilian Amazon have always varied, but have generally been correlated with national economic growth as measured by GDP (Petherick 2013, p. 7; Hochstetler and Viola 2012, p. 759). However, beginning in 2005, measures of deforestation and GDP have separated or ‘‘decoupled’’ (Lapola et al. 2014, p. 27; Petherick 2013, p. 7). The Amazon experienced dramatic reductions in annual average rates of deforestation from almost 21,000 km2 (8,108 mi2) between 2000 and 2004—to about 7,000 km2 (2,703 mi2) in 2009 and 2010 (Prodes 2017, unpaginated; Petherick 2013, p. 8; Hochstetler and Viola 2012, p. 759) and 6,418 km2 (2,478 mi2) in 2011 (Prodes 2017, unpaginated). During this same period, Brazil’s GDP rose steadily, indicating strong, sustained growth from an export commodity boom (Petherick 2013 p.7; Hochstetler and Viola 2012, pp. 759– 760). Decoupling has been attributed to a number of factors with no clear consensus on which factor has been the most effective (Moutinho 2015, p. 2). Contributing factors include government strategies and policies for forest conservation (Assunc¸a˜o et al. 2012, p. 697) such as: (1) The expansion of protected areas, which reduced the supply of unclaimed forest land (Nepstad et al. 2014, p. 1118); (2) an effort that began in 2007 to blacklist the worst deforesters; and (3) efforts to monitor and control municipalities with high levels of illegal deforestation through sanctions and restricted access to credit (Moutinho 2015, p. 3; Assunc¸a˜o et al. 2012, p. 698). Reductions in deforestation have also been attributed to market and social forces, such as decreases in the price of agricultural commodities (including soy and beef) in 2005 (Fearnside 2017b, p. 1; Assunc¸a˜o et al. 2012, entire) and the 2006 soy moratorium (Gibbs et al. 2015, pp. 377–378). Brazil is one of the countries that currently has comparatively low productivity levels and is projected to grow faster as it catches up with more developed countries (Guardian 2012, unpaginated). Forecasts vary for Brazil’s PO 00000 Frm 00075 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 22655 GDP purchasing power parity (GDP PPP), with one forecast predicting that GDP PPP will rise steadily through 2050 (PWC Global 2016, unpaginated), while a more recent forecast predicts that GDP PPP will stagnate and then drop after about 2050 (Knoema 2018, unpaginated). Illegal Collection and Trade The golden conure is highly prized as an aviary bird and has been extensively trapped for both the domestic and international pet trade in the past (BLI 2016, p. 5; Alves et al. 2013, p. 60; Laranjeiras 2011a, unpaginated; Yamashita 2003, p. 38; Snyder et al. 2000, p. 132; Collar 1992, p. 304; Oren and Novaes 1986, pp. 329, 334–335). However, there is little evidence that this practice is continuing in international trade (Laranjeiras 2011a, unpaginated; Silveira and Belmonte in press, unpaginated). In contrast, the illegal domestic market for the species is still occurring at some level (Silveira and Belmonte in press, unpaginated). Historically, keeping birds was an important part of local indigenous tradition and culture (Carvalho 1951 and Cascudo 1973, as cited by Alves et al. 2013, p. 54). Young birds were taken from the wild to raise as pets and for feathers, but now are also sold to bird traders (Oren and Novaes 1986, p. 335). Much of the area occupied by the golden conure is poor, and selling the birds for the domestic pet trade provides an extra source of income (Yamashita 2003, p. 39). There are mixed reports regarding the degree to which illegal capture of golden conures from the wild (‘‘poaching’’) occurs. The Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (IBAMA) has licensed and regulated bird breeding in an effort to reduce poaching (Alves et al. 2013, p. 61). As a result, several sources believe poaching is no longer a major concern for the species because trade is thought to mostly be from the substantial captive population (Silveira in litt. 2012, Lees in litt. 2013, in BLI 2016, p. 5). However, some level of illegal capture and trade of the species is still believed to occur (Lima in litt. 2018). Captive rearing may not be a practical alternative to illegal trade, particularly in low-income areas, because the price of commercially bred birds is approximately 10 times higher than wild-caught individuals (Renctas 2001, as cited in Alves et al. 2013, p. 61; Machado 2002, as cited in Alves et al. 2010, p. 155). Additionally, oversight of domestic wildlife-breeding facilities in Brazil is limited (Alves et al. 2010, entire), and E:\FR\FM\23APR1.SGM 23APR1 22656 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 79 / Thursday, April 23, 2020 / Rules and Regulations lotter on DSKBCFDHB2PROD with RULES many wild bird species declared to be captive-bred are actually born in the wild and traded under fraudulent documentation (Alves et al. 2013, p. 61). Most wildlife centers responsible for managing, licensing, and inspecting all categories of breeders, traders, and zoos (Kuhnen and Kanaan 2014, p. 125) lack resources and funding (Padrone 2004, as cited in Kuhnen and Kanaan 2014, p. 125). Also, there are not enough inspections at market places and commercial breeding facilities to fight illegal domestic trade (Alves et al. 2010, pp. 154–155). The United States is a major importer of pet birds, yet relatively little trade in the golden conure has been observed. We reviewed all records of legal and intercepted illegal trade in the CITES annual trade records submitted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from 1981 to 2016. Overall, the U.S. trade in the golden conure has been relatively low compared with other pet birds, likely because the golden conure was included in CITES Appendix I in 1975 and we listed the species under the Act in 1976. Projected Effects From Climate Change Changes in Brazil’s climate and associated changes to the landscape are likely to result in additional habitat loss for the golden conure. Across Brazil, temperatures are projected to increase and precipitation to decrease (Barros and Albernaz 2014, p. 811; Carabine and Lemma 2014, p. 11). The 2013 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicted that by 2100, South America will experience temperature increases ranging from 1.7 to 6.7 degrees Celsius (°C) (3.06 to 12.06 degrees Fahrenheit (°F)) under Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) 4.5 and RCP 8.5, respectively (Carabine and Lemma 2014, p. 10; Magrin et al. 2014, p. 1502). Projected changes in precipitation in South America vary by region, with rainfall reductions in the Amazon estimated with medium confidence (about a 5 out of 10 chance) (IPCC 2018, unpaginated; Carabine and Lemma 2014, p. 11; Magrin et al. 2014, p. 1502). Downscaled models, based in part on the 2007 IPCC data, predict more severe changes than the average expected global variation, with the greatest warming and drying occurring over the Amazon rainforest, particularly after 2040 (Marengo et al. 2011, pp. 8, 15, 27, 39, 48; Fe´res et al. 2009, p. 2). Estimates of temperature changes in the Amazon by the end of the 21st century are 2.2 °C (4 °F) under a low greenhouse gas emission scenario and 4.5 °C (8 °F) under a high-emission scenario VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:13 Apr 22, 2020 Jkt 250001 (Marengo et al. 2011, p. 27). The downscaled model for the Amazon used a previously provided set of scenarios known as the Special Report on Emissions Scenarios (SRES) to project the low-emissions using scenario (SRES B1) and high-emissions scenario (SRES A2) (Marengo et al. 2011, p. 27). More recently, a newer set of scenarios (i.e., RCPs) were prepared that include a wider range of future conditions and emissions. However, to compare the SRES and RCP scenarios, SRES B1 is roughly comparable to RCP 4.5 and SRES A2 is similar to RCP 8.5 (U.S. National Climate Change Assessment 2014, p. 821). These similarities between specific RCP and SRES scenarios make it possible to compare the results from different modeling efforts over time (U.S. National Climate Change Assessment 2014, p. 821). The risks to the golden conure from deforestation will likely be intensified by synergistic effects associated with climate change (Staal et al. 2015, p. 2) because a number of large-scale drivers of environmental change (i.e., land-use change from deforestation and climate changes due to global warming) are operating simultaneously and interacting nonlinearly in the Amazon (Nobre et al. 2016, p. 10759). Increased temperatures and frequency or severity of droughts put the Amazon region at a higher risk of forest loss and more frequent wildfires (Magrin et al. 2007, p. 596; Marengo et al. 2011, p. 48). The Amazon’s rainforest may have two ‘‘tipping points’’: (1) A temperature increase of 4.0 °C (7.2 °F); or (2) deforestation exceeding 40 percent (Nobre et al. 2016, p. 10759), that once exceeded could cause large-scale shifts in the vegetation to a savanna (i.e., ‘‘savannization’’) mostly in the southern and eastern Amazon (Nobre et al. 2016, p. 10759) within the golden conure’s range. Similarly, a study that considered only the effects from global warming (i.e., absent deforestation) predicted that by the end of this century, some areas of rainforest will be replaced by deciduous forest and grassland using scenario RCP 4.5 and by all grassland using scenario RCP 8.5 (Lyra et al. 2016, entire). Although the projected outcomes of models are not definitive, any terra firme (unflooded) forest habitat that shifts from rainforest to other habitat types (e.g., savanna) would result in loss of habitat for the golden conure. (Factor C). The species is likely still hunted at low levels as a food source and for feathers, and birds that raid crops may be shot by farmers (Oren and Novaes 1986, p. 335). However, we have no information about the rate that these activities may be occurring or the extent to which they may be affecting populations. Similarly, we have no information regarding diseases that may affect golden conures in the wild. Golden conures, including eggs and nestlings, are prey to a variety of native predators, including toucans (Oren and Novaes 1986, p. 334; Forshaw 2017, p. 228); raptors (Laranjeiras 2008a, as cited in Laranjeiras 2011a, unpaginated; Silveira and Belmonte in press, unpaginated); monkeys; snakes; and the tayra (Eira barbara), an omnivorous weasel (Oren and Novaes 1986, p. 334). However, we have no information regarding the rates of predation on the golden conure from these predators and how that may be affecting the golden conure. Other Potential Stressors Other potential stressors to the golden conure include hunting and persecution (Factor B), and predation or disease Protected Areas Protected areas have traditionally formed the backbone of forest conservation in the Amazon Basin, and PO 00000 Frm 00076 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 Conservation Measures and Regulatory Mechanisms The conservation measures and regulatory mechanisms for the golden conure are described in the proposed rule (83 FR 45073; September 5, 2018) and are summarized below. The golden conure is considered ‘‘vulnerable’’ at the national level in Brazil (MMA 2014, p. 122). Golden conures and their nests, shelters, and breeding grounds are protected by Brazilian environmental laws (Clayton 2011, p. 4; Environmental Crimes law of Brazil (1999) as cited in MSU 2018, unpaginated; Official List of Brazilian Endangered Animal Species Order No. 1.522/1989 as cited in ECOLEX 2018; CFRB 2010, p. 150; Law No. 5.197/1967 as cited in LatinLawyer 2018, unpaginated). Various regulatory mechanisms (Law No. 11.516, Act No. 7.735, and Decree No. 78, as cited in ECOLEX 2018, unpaginated) and Law 6.938/1981(LatinLawyer 2018, unpaginated) direct Brazil’s federal and state agencies to promote the protection of lands and govern the formal establishment and management of protected areas to promote conservation of the country’s natural resources. Additionally, several Brazilian laws are designed to protect forest reserves and to prohibit fire and other actions, such as logging, without authorization (Clayton 2011, p. 5; Law No. 9.605/1998 as cited in LatinLawyer 2018, unpaginated). E:\FR\FM\23APR1.SGM 23APR1 lotter on DSKBCFDHB2PROD with RULES Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 79 / Thursday, April 23, 2020 / Rules and Regulations they still remain a vital conservation strategy (GFA 2018f, unpaginated). Brazil has the largest protected area network in the world. The National Protected Areas System (Federal Act 9.985/2000, as cited in LatinLawyer 2018, unpaginated) was established in 2000, and covers nearly 2.2 million km2 (0.8 million mi2) or 12.4 percent of the global total (WDPA 2012, as cited by Ferreira et al. 2014, p. 706). This extensive network of protected areas is intended to (1) preserve priority biodiversity conservation areas, (2) establish biodiversity corridors, and (3) protect portions of the 23 Amazonian ecoregions identified by the World Wildlife Fund (Rylands and Brandon 2005, pp. 612, 615; Silva 2005, entire). Brazil’s Protected Areas may be categorized as ‘‘strictly protected’’ or ‘‘sustainable use’’ based on their overall management objectives. Strictly protected areas include national parks, biological reserves, ecological stations, natural monuments, and wildlife refuges protected for educational and recreational purposes and scientific research. Protected areas of sustainable use (national forests, environmental protection areas, areas of relevant ecological interest, extractive reserves, fauna reserves, sustainable development reserves, and private natural heritage reserves) allow for different types and levels of human use with conservation of biodiversity as a secondary objective. By 2006, 1.8 million km2 (0.7 million mi2), or approximately 45 percent of Brazil’s Amazonian tropical forest, was under some level of protection as federal- or state-managed land, or designated as indigenous reserve (managed by indigenous communities) (Barber et al. 2014, p. 204). Of this, 19.2 percent was strictly protected areas, and 30.6 percent was comprised of federal and state sustainable use areas, with indigenous reserves making up the remainder (Barber et al. 2014, p. 204). Indigenous lands are legally recognized areas where indigenous peoples have perpetual rights of access, use, withdrawal, management, and exclusion over the land and associated resources (GFW 2018, unpaginated). Indigenous communities sustainably use their forest land, practice shifting cultivation, trade non-timber forest products, and may allow selective logging (GFA 2018g, unpaginated; Schwartzman and Zimmerman 2005, p. 721). Large-scale deforestation is prohibited (Barber et al. 2014, p. 204). Protected areas have been emphasized as a key component for the golden conure’s survival (e.g., in the Tapajos River region and the Gurupi Biological Preserve) (Laranjeiras and Cohn-Haft VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:13 Apr 22, 2020 Jkt 250001 2009, pp. 1, 8; Silveira and Belmonte in press, unpaginated). The species’ predicted range overlaps with numerous protected areas such as national parks and national forests, which have various levels of protection (Service 2018, pp. 68–70; Laranjeiras and Cohn-Haft 2009, p. 8). Additionally, the species occurs in nine areas recently designated as ‘‘Important Bird Areas’’ (IBAs) in Brazil (BLI 2018a–h, unpaginated; Lima et al. 2014, p. 318; Laranjeiras 2011a, unpaginated; Devenish et al. 2009, pp. 104–106). IBAs are places of international significance for the conservation of birds and other biodiversity (BLI 2018i, unpaginated). Levels of protection at IBAs vary from fully protected within Protected Areas to no protections and are outside the National Protected Area System (BLI 2018i, unpaginated). Habitat modeling studies have estimated approximately 10,875 golden conures within 174,000 km2 (67,182 mi2) of suitable habitat across a range of approximately 340,000 km2 (131,275 mi2) (Laranjeiras 2011b, p. 311; Laranjeiras and Cohn-Haft 2009, pp. 1, 3). To date, the golden conure has been found in numerous protected areas or IBAs that have a total area of approximately 154,673 km2 (51,719 mi2) (Service 2018, pp. 68–70). However, not all of the area represented contains suitable habitat for the species, and several of the IBAs (39 percent) presently have no protection (61,864 km2 (23,866 mi2)). An additional 26 percent of IBAs presently have just partial protection (40,582 km2 (15,669 mi2)) (Service 2018, pp. 68–70). Despite significant efforts to designate and establish protected areas, funding and resources are limited, and adequate enforcement of these areas is challenging. Forest Code Brazil’s forest code was created in 1965, and was subsequently changed in the 1990s via a series of presidential decrees (Soares-Filho et al. 2014, p. 363). As of 2001, the forest code required landowners in the Amazon to conserve native vegetation on their rural properties by setting aside what is called a ‘‘legal reserve’’ of 80 percent of their property (i.e., with 20 percent available to be harvested) (Soares-Filho et al. 2014, p. 363). The forest code severely restricted deforestation on private properties but proved challenging to enforce, and full compliance has not been achieved (GFA 2018b, unpaginated; Azevedo et al. 2017, entire; Soares-Filho et al. 2014, p. 363). PO 00000 Frm 00077 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 22657 In late 2012, a new forest code was approved that reduces restoration requirements by providing amnesty for previous illegal deforestation by smaller property holders (Soares-Filho et al. 2014, p. 363). Under the older forest code, legal reserves that were illegally deforested were required to be restored at the landowner’s expense. The new forest code forgives the legal reserve debt of small properties (up to 440 hectares (1,087 acres)) (Soares-Filho et al. 2014, p. 363). Although the 2012 forest code reduced the restoration requirements, it also introduced measures that strengthen conservation including addressing (1) fire management, (2) forest carbon emissions and storage, and (3) payments for ecosystem services that increase the economic activities compatible with conservation of natural resources (Soares-Filho et al. 2014, p. 364; GFA 2018h, unpaginated). Additionally, the new forest code created an ‘‘environmental reserve quota,’’ where quota surplus on one property may be used to offset a legal reserve debt on another property within the same biome; this could create a market for forested lands, adding monetary value to native vegetation and potentially abating up to 56 percent of legal reserve debt (Soares-Filho et al. 2014, p. 363). Legal Captive Rearing and Trade IBAMA has licensed and regulated breeding of native bird species, including golden conure, in an effort to reduce poaching (Alves et al. 2013, p. 61). The captive population of golden conures in Brazil is believed to be about 600 birds (Prioste et al. 2013, p. 146). Additional captive populations of golden conures exist as CITES-registered captive-breeding operations in the United Kingdom and the Philippines. Although we have no further information on these programs, captive rearing in Brazil is believed to have reduced the incidence of poaching of young golden conures from the wild (Silveira in litt. 2012, Lees in litt. 2013, as cited in BLI 2016, p. 5). Reintroduction We know of only one attempt to reintroduce the golden conure to an area where it had been extirpated. The species was extirpated from the Bele´m region of Para´ in 1848 (Moura et al. 2014, p. 5). In 2017, reintroductions of golden conure were attempted in this area (at Utinga State Park in Bele´m) (globo.com 2018, unpaginated; Silveira in litt. 2018; Organization of Professional Aviculturists in litt. 2018). Of the 24 birds involved in the release program, three died prior to release, and E:\FR\FM\23APR1.SGM 23APR1 22658 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 79 / Thursday, April 23, 2020 / Rules and Regulations lotter on DSKBCFDHB2PROD with RULES one died after release due to predation by a boa (Boa constrictor). There have been no reports of released conures being taken as pets, although it is a possibility in the future. Currently, seven of the released birds are living in close proximity to the release station, while another 13 birds have flown away from the release point. These 13 birds are not currently under observation, but reports have indicated that they are living within the green areas of the city of Bele´m. One pair of golden conures has also successfully produced one offspring in an artificial nest box provided near the release station. This chick was successfully reared without human intervention and is living as a wild parrot along with its parents that have been seen feeding on native fruits. This is the first documented wild born golden conure in the Bele´m area in over 50 years. Even though this project is in the initial stages, its prospects are promising (Silveira in litt. 2018; Organization of Professional Aviculturists in litt. 2018). Additional Conservation and Regulatory Mechanisms ‘‘Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation’’ (REDD) is a ‘‘payment for ecological services’’ initiative developed by the United Nations that creates a financial value for the carbon stored in forests (GFA 2018h, unpaginated). The program offers incentives to developing countries to reduce emissions from forested lands and invest in low-carbon paths to sustainable development (GFA 2018h, unpaginated). REDD plus (REDD+) goes one step further by including objectives for (1) biodiversity conservation, (2) sustainable management of forests, and (3) improvements to forest governance and local livelihoods (GFA 2018h, unpaginated). Brazil is one of the most advanced countries in the world in REDD+ planning and maintains an ‘‘Amazon Fund,’’ which receives compensation for reductions in deforestation. To date, the Norwegian government is the major donor; lesser donors include the government of Germany and the Brazilian oil company Petrobras (GFA 2018h, unpaginated). The successful funding and implementation of REDD+ is expected to reduce rates of deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest and would likely benefit the golden conure and its habitat. However, the initiative is in its early stages and is being hampered by numerous issues, particularly unresolved land-tenure problems (May et al. 2018, p. 44). The golden conure is protected under CITES, an international agreement VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:13 Apr 22, 2020 Jkt 250001 between member governments to ensure that the international trade of CITESlisted plant and animal species is sustainable and does not threaten species’ survival. Under this treaty, CITES Parties (member countries or signatories) regulate the import, export, and re-export of specimens, parts, and products of CITES-listed plant and animal species. Brazil is a Party to CITES. Trade in CITES-listed plants and animals must be authorized through a licensing system of permits and certificates that are provided by the designated CITES Management Authority of each CITES Party. CITES includes three Appendices that list species meeting specific criteria. Depending on the Appendix in which they are listed, species are subject to various permitting requirements. The golden conure is included in CITES Appendix I and receives the highest degree of protection. Species listed in this Appendix are those that are threatened with extinction and which are, or may be, affected by trade. Commercial trade in Appendix I wildlife species is strictly prohibited, except in limited circumstances provided by the treaty. However, commercial international trade may be allowed in certain circumstances where animals have been produced by CITESregistered captive-breeding operations. Trade in specimens from registered operations may be treated as if they were listed in CITES Appendix II, although they remain Appendix I listed specimens. Each shipment requires the issuance of both CITES export and import documents. There are two CITES-registered captive-breeding operations for the golden conure: one in the United Kingdom and the other in the Philippines. The United States may also allow noncommercial trade in this species on a case-by-case basis for approved purposes such as scientific, zoological, and educational activities. Two other laws in the United States apart from the Act provide protection from the illegal import of wild-caught birds into the United States: the Wild Bird Conservation Act (WBCA; 16 U.S.C. 4901 et seq.) and the Lacey Act (18 U.S.C. 42; 16 U.S.C. 3371 et seq.). The WBCA was enacted in 1992, to ensure that exotic bird species are not harmed by international trade and to encourage wild bird conservation programs in countries of origin. Under the WBCA and our implementing regulations (50 CFR 15.11), it is unlawful to import into the United States any exotic bird species listed under CITES that is not included in the approved list of species, except under certain circumstances. We may issue PO 00000 Frm 00078 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 permits to allow import of listed birds for scientific research, zoological breeding or display, cooperative breeding, or personal pet purposes when the applicant meets certain criteria (50 CFR 15.22–15.25). The Lacey Act was originally passed in 1900, and was the first Federal law protecting wildlife. Today, it provides civil and criminal penalties for the illegal trade of animals and plants. Under the Lacey Act, in part, it is unlawful to (1) import, export, transport, sell, receive, acquire, or purchase any fish, or wildlife taken, possessed, transported, or sold in violation of any law, treaty, or regulation of the United States or in violation of any Indian tribal law; or (2) import, export, transport, sell, receive, acquire, or purchase in interstate or foreign commerce any fish or wildlife taken, possessed, transported, or sold in violation of any law or regulation of any State or in violation of any foreign law. Therefore, because the take of wildcaught golden conures would be in violation of Brazil’s wildlife law, the subsequent import of the species would be in violation of the Lacey Act. Similarly, under the Lacey Act, it is unlawful to import, export, transport, sell, receive, acquire, or purchase specimens of these species traded contrary to CITES. Summary of Comments and Responses SSA Report In accordance with our joint policy on peer review published in the Federal Register on July 1, 1994 (59 FR 34270), and our August 22, 2016, memorandum updating and clarifying the role of peer review of listing actions under the Act, we sought the expert opinions of five appropriate specialists regarding the SSA report that informed our proposed rule, and we received responses from four of the five peer reviewers. We also invited any additional comments from the peer reviewers on the proposed rule during its public comment period. The purpose of peer review is to ensure that our reclassification determination is based on scientifically sound data, assumptions, and analyses. All substantive information from the peer review was fully considered and incorporated into this final rule, where appropriate. The peer reviewers’ comments and suggestions are available at https://www.fws.gov/endangered/ improving_ESA/peer_review_ process.html. Proposed Rule The public comment period for our September 5, 2018, proposed rule (83 E:\FR\FM\23APR1.SGM 23APR1 lotter on DSKBCFDHB2PROD with RULES Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 79 / Thursday, April 23, 2020 / Rules and Regulations FR 45073) lasted for 60 days, ending November 5, 2018. During that comment period, we received 31 comments on our proposed rule to downlist the golden conure. The majority of the comments support downlisting the golden conure from endangered to threatened with a 4(d) rule to allow import/export and interstate commerce of certain golden conures. Additionally, commenters provided updated information regarding the golden conure reintroduction program occurring in the Bele´m region of Para´ at Utinga State Park. We have incorporated this information under Conservation Measures and Regulatory Mechanisms, above, and have updated the SSA report. Other comments are discussed below by topic. Comment (1): Many commenters state that the 4(d) rule will help improve the breeding pool because allowing interstate commerce of golden conures will develop more diverse genes and blood lines. Thus, the continued breeding of the species in the United States can provide a safety reservoir of individuals for reintroduction if needed. Our Response: While we agree with the commenters that interstate commerce of golden conures could allow the development of more diverse genes and blood lines, we do not believe that captive-bred golden conures in the United States as pets are good candidates for reintroduction into the wild. Golden conures bred as pets would likely be socialized with humans and in turn fail to act appropriately with wild individuals when released. In addition, golden conures held as pets may pose a disease risk to wild populations. Comment (2): A few commenters disagreed with the proposed downlisting because they claim that we underestimate the effect of deforestation and increased human population growth within the range of the golden conure. Therefore, they state that the golden conure should not be downlisted to threatened because the species remains in danger of extinction due to deforestation. Our Response: Our analysis of the stressors to the golden conure as discussed in the SSA report (Service 2018, pp. 25–35) and summarized here and in the proposed rule includes the contribution of an increasing human population and how it impacts the species through habitat degradation and fragmentation. While we agree the golden conure faces significant risk from loss and degradation of its habitat from deforestation in the foreseeable future, because the golden conure is more widespread than previously thought and VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:13 Apr 22, 2020 Jkt 250001 near-term threats to the species have been reduced, we do not find the species is presently in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range. Thus, it does not meet the definition of an ‘‘endangered species’’ under the Act. Drivers of habitat degradation and deforestation include roads; human settlement; logging; and agricultural expansion for soy cultivation, cattle ranching, and palm oil production (an emerging threat). Additionally, infrastructure projects such as hydroelectric dams and mining operations are growing sources of deforestation that also contribute to loss of forest habitat in the range of the conure. Based on the best available scientific studies and information assessing land-use trends (including deforestation, lack of enforcement of laws, predicted landscape changes under climate-change scenarios, and predictions about the impact of those threats), we conclude that the golden conure is likely to be in danger of extinction in the foreseeable future throughout its range and meets the definition of a ‘‘threatened species’’ under the Act. Comment (3): One commenter stated that downlisting the golden conure to threatened will provide the species with less protection than if it was listed as endangered. Our Response: We must make our determination on whether the species is endangered or threatened based solely on the best available scientific and commercial data available. If a species is determined to be an endangered species, the Act extends certain prohibitions to the species pursuant to section 9. If the species is listed as threatened, we may develop a rule pursuant to 4(d) to provide for its conservation. The golden conure is more widespread than previously thought, and threats to the species have been reduced to the point that it is no longer in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range. Our analysis also assessed the biological status of the golden conure in light of the broad protections provided to the species under CITES and the WBCA. We determined that the golden conure meets the definition of a ‘‘threatened species’’ under the Act. A threatened species is likely to become endangered throughout all or a significant portion of its range within the foreseeable future. Section 4(d) of the Act states that the ‘‘Secretary shall issue such regulations as he deems necessary and advisable to provide for the conservation’’ of species listed as threatened. Therefore, we PO 00000 Frm 00079 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 22659 include the golden conure in the 4(d) rule for birds at 50 CFR 17.41(c) to address the golden conure’s specific threats and conservation needs, which will promote conservation of the golden conure. We find that this 4(d) rule contains all the prohibitions and authorizations necessary and advisable for the conservation of the species. We acknowledge that we do not have authority to directly regulate activities in a foreign country that may cause the golden conure to be an endangered species or a threatened species. However, conservation measures or benefits provided to foreign species listed as endangered or threatened under the Act include recognition, requirements for Federal protection, and prohibitions against certain practices. Recognition through listing results in public awareness, and may encourage and result in conservation actions by foreign governments, Federal and State governments, private agencies and interest groups, and individuals. Comment (4): Some commenters stated that Bird Life International (BLI) has downlisted the species from ‘‘endangered’’ to ‘‘vulnerable’’ because the estimated population is 10,000 to 19,999 individuals. The commenters state that BLI is a recognized authority, and their recommendations should be taken as ‘‘best scientific evidence.’’ Our Response: We determined that the best available information indicates the current wild population of the golden conure is about 10,875 individuals (Laranjeiras 2011b, p. 311). Birdlife International’s population estimate is 6,600–13,400 individuals (BLI 2019, unpaginated). We note that this estimate is within the range of the range of individuals cited by BLI. The decision to list a species under the Act is based on whether the species meets the definition of an endangered species or a threatened species as defined under section 3 of the Act, considering the factors set forth in section 4(a)(1) of the Act, and is made solely on the basis of the best scientific and commercial data available. BLI uses different standards and criteria to assign its status designations; therefore, a determination of status under the Act is not interchangeable with a BLI designation. Using the best scientific and commercial data available, as summarized in this rule, we find that the golden conure meets the definition of a ‘‘threatened species’’ under the Act. Determination of Golden Conure Status Section 4 of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1533) and its implementing regulations (50 CFR part 424) set forth the procedures for determining whether a species meets E:\FR\FM\23APR1.SGM 23APR1 22660 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 79 / Thursday, April 23, 2020 / Rules and Regulations lotter on DSKBCFDHB2PROD with RULES the definition of ‘‘endangered species’’ or ‘‘threatened species.’’ The Act defines an ‘‘endangered species’’ as a species that is ‘‘in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range,’’ and a ‘‘threatened species’’ as a species that is ‘‘likely to become an endangered species within the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its range.’’ The Act requires that we determine whether a species meets the definition of ‘‘endangered species’’ or ‘‘threatened species’’ because of any of the following factors: (A) The present or threatened destruction, modification, or curtailment of its habitat or range; (B) Overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or educational purposes; (C) Disease or predation; (D) The inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms; or (E) Other natural or manmade factors affecting its continued existence. Status Throughout All of Its Range After evaluating threats to the golden conure and assessing the cumulative effect of the threats under the section 4(a)(1) factors, we reviewed the status of the golden conure and assessed the five factors to evaluate whether the species is endangered or threatened throughout all of its range. We examined the best scientific and commercial information available regarding the past, present, and future threats faced by the golden conure. We reviewed information presented in the August 21, 2014, petition we received from the American Federation of Aviculture, Inc.; information available in our files; information gathered through our 90day finding in response to the petition; information gathered in the SSA report; information from public comments on our September 5, 2018, proposed rule (83 FR 45073); and other available published and unpublished information. When we listed the golden conure as endangered (41 FR 24062; June 14, 1976), the species was perceived to be declining in numbers due to either Factor A, Factor B, or Factor D, or a combination of all three factors. At present, while we consider deforestation and habitat degradation to be a significant risk to the golden conure in the future, the best scientific and commercial information available on the range and abundance of the species indicates that the species is more widespread and abundant than previously believed and that the threat from overutilization for the pet trade (Factor B) has diminished (Silveira in litt. 2012, Lees in litt. 2013, in BLI 2016, p. 5; Snyder et al. 2000, p. 99). VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:13 Apr 22, 2020 Jkt 250001 Approximately 10,875 golden conures occur within 174,000 km2 (67,182 mi2) of suitable habitat across a range of approximately 340,000 km2 (131,275 mi2) (Laranjeiras 2011b, p. 311; Laranjeiras and Cohn-Haft 2009, pp. 1, 3). Tighter enforcement of CITES, stricter European Union legislation, adoption of the WBCA in the United States, and adoption of national legislation in other countries have all helped to significantly curtail illegal international trade (Snyder et al. 2000, p. 99). Government-authorized captive breeding programs in Brazil are thought to have curtailed the illegal domestic trade (Silveira in litt. 2012, Lees in litt. 2013, in BLI 2016, p. 5). Thus, after assessing the best available information, we conclude the golden conure is not currently in danger of extinction throughout its range. We next considered whether the golden conure is likely to become in danger of extinction throughout its range within the foreseeable future. Our proposed rule described ‘‘foreseeable future’’ as the extent to which we can reasonably rely on predictions about the future in making determinations about the future conservation status of the species. The Service since codified its understanding of foreseeable future in 50 CFR 424.11(d) (84 FR 45020; August 27, 2019). In those regulations, we explain the term ‘‘foreseeable future’’ extends only so far into the future as the Service can reasonably determine that both the future threats and the species’ responses to those threats are likely. The Service will describe the foreseeable future on a case-by-case basis, using the best available data and taking into account considerations such as the species’ lifehistory characteristics, threat-projection timeframes, and environmental variability. The Service need not identify the foreseeable future in terms of a specific period of time. These regulations did not significantly modify the Service’s interpretation; rather they codified a framework that sets forth how the Service will determine what constitutes the foreseeable future based on our long-standing practice. Accordingly, though these regulations do not apply to the final rule for the golden conure since it was proposed prior to their effective date, they do not change the Service’s assessment of foreseeable future for the golden conure as contained in our proposed rule. The golden conure has already lost 30 to 35 percent of its historical range (Laranjeiras 2011a, unpaginated; Laranjeiras and Cohn-Haft 2009, p. 8). We expect both the species’ global population and its habitat to decline an PO 00000 Frm 00080 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 additional 23 to 30 percent in 22 years (Service 2018, pp. 42–46; Bird et al. 2011, appendix S1). Additionally, habitat loss and degradation is likely to be intensified by synergistic effects associated with the consequences of climate change (Service 2018, pp. 42–46; Staal et al. 2015, p. 2). There is a strong likelihood of warming by at least 1.5 to 2.0 °C (2.7 to 3.6 °F) in Latin America by the end of the century (Carabine and Lemma 2014, p. 8), and downscaled estimates for the Amazon over the same time period (i.e., by the end of the century) indicate temperature increases of 2.2 °C (4 °F) under a low greenhouse gas emission scenario, SRES B1 that equates to RCP 4.5, and 4.5 °C (8 °F) under a highemission scenario, SRES A2 that equates to RCP 8.5 (Marengo et al. 2011, p. 27). Increased temperatures of these amounts put the Amazon region at a high risk of forest loss and more frequent wildfires (Magrin et al. 2007, p. 596). Downscaled models, based in part, on the earlier (2007) IPCC data, predict severe changes (increased warming and drying) over the Amazon rainforest, particularly after 2040 (Marengo et al. 2011, pp. 8, 15, 27, 39, 48; Fe´res et al. 2009, p. 2). Additionally, extreme weather events, such as droughts, will increase in frequency, with drought becoming a 9-in-10-year event, by 2060 (Marengo et al. 2011, p. 28), further contributing to deforestation due to more risk from fires (Marengo et al. 2011, p. 16). Based on the best available data, we assessed foreseeable future to be 22 to 42 years (or approximately three to six generations of the golden conure). We based the lower end of this range (22 years) on the peer-reviewed work by Bird et al. 2011, relating to deforestation and declines in the population. We based the upper end of this range (42 years) on peer-reviewed studies predicting effects from climate change (such as drought) on deforestation after about 2040 to 2060 (Marengo et al. 2011, pp. 8, 15, 27, 28, 39, 48; Fe´res et al. 2009, p. 2). We conclude that it is reasonable to rely on the predictions made in these peer-reviewed studies to determine both the future threats and the species’ response to these threats in making determinations about the foreseeable future of the golden conure. Although the golden conure is now known to be more widespread and abundant than previously thought, the species occurs only within the southern basin of Brazil’s Amazon. Much of this area is in the ‘‘arc of deforestation’’ and is threatened by loss and degradation of its rainforest habitat from deforestation. Effects from deforestation are E:\FR\FM\23APR1.SGM 23APR1 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 79 / Thursday, April 23, 2020 / Rules and Regulations lotter on DSKBCFDHB2PROD with RULES exacerbated by the projected effects from climate change. Additionally, even though government-authorized captive breeding programs in Brazil are thought to have curtailed the illegal domestic trade, some unknown level of illegal collection and trade is ongoing, particularly within Brazil (Silveira and Belmonte in press, unpaginated). Existing regulatory mechanisms and conservation efforts do not currently adequately ameliorate threats to the golden conure (Factor D). Although the species is no longer in danger of extinction now, the factors identified above continue to affect the golden conure such that it is likely to become in danger of extinction within the foreseeable future throughout all of its range. Based on the best available scientific studies and information assessing land-use trends, adequacy of enforcement of laws, predicted landscape changes under climatechange scenarios, and predictions about how those threats may impact the golden conure, we conclude that the species is likely to be in danger of extinction within the foreseeable future throughout all of its range. Thus, after assessing the best available information, we conclude the golden conure is not currently in danger of extinction, but is likely to become in danger of extinction within the foreseeable future throughout all of its range. Status Throughout a Significant Portion of Its Range Having determined that the golden conure is likely to become an endangered species within the foreseeable future throughout all of its range, we now consider whether it may be in danger of extinction in a significant portion of its range. The range of a species can theoretically be divided into portions in an infinite number of ways, so we first screen the potential portions of the species’ range to determine if there are any portions that warrant further consideration. To do the ‘‘screening’’ analysis, we ask whether there are portions of the species’ range for which there is substantial information indicating that: (1) The portion may be significant; and (2) the species may be, in that portion, in danger of extinction. For a particular portion, if we cannot answer both questions in the affirmative, then that portion does not warrant further consideration and the species does not warrant listing as endangered because of its status in that portion of its range. We emphasize that answering these questions in the affirmative is not a determination that the species is in VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:13 Apr 22, 2020 Jkt 250001 danger of extinction throughout a significant portion of its range—rather, it is a step in determining whether a more detailed analysis of the issue is required. If we answer these questions in the affirmative, we then conduct a more thorough analysis to determine whether the portion does indeed meet both of the ‘‘significant portion of its range’’ prongs: (1) The portion is significant and (2) the species is, in that portion, in danger of extinction. Confirmation that a portion does indeed meet one of these prongs does not create a presumption, prejudgment, or other determination as to whether the species is an endangered species. Rather, we must then undertake a more detailed analysis of the other prong to make that determination. Only if the portion does indeed meet both prongs would the species warrant listing as endangered because of its status in a significant portion of its range At both stages in this process—the stage of screening potential portions to identify any portions that warrant further consideration and the stage of undertaking the more detailed analysis of any portions that do warrant further consideration—it might be more efficient for us to address the ‘‘significance’’ question or the ‘‘status’’ question first. Our selection of which question to address first for a particular portion depends on the biology of the species, its range, and the threats it faces. Regardless of which question we address first, if we reach a negative answer with respect to the first question that we address, we do not need to evaluate the second question for that portion of the species’ range. For golden conure, we chose to evaluate the status question (i.e., identifying portions where the golden conure may be in danger of extinction) first. To conduct this screening, we considered whether the threats are geographically concentrated in any portion of the species’ range at a biologically meaningful scale. We examined the following threats: Habitat loss; illegal collection and trade; climate change; and other stressors of hunting, persecution, and predation; and including cumulative effects. We found no concentration of threats in any portion of the golden conures’ range at a biologically meaningful scale. For the golden conure, we found both: The species is not in danger of extinction throughout all of its range, and there is no geographical concentration of threats so the threats to the species are essentially uniform throughout its range. The ‘‘arc of deforestation’’ is a hotspot of deforestation in the Amazon and the golden conure’s range partially PO 00000 Frm 00081 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 22661 overlaps this area. However, deforestation caused by fires, ranching, and agriculture occurs in many parts of the Amazon and in the conure’s range outside of the ‘‘arc of deforestation.’’ If both (1) a species is not in danger of extinction throughout all of its range and (2) the threats to the species are essentially uniform throughout its range, then the species could not be in danger of extinction in any biologically meaningful portion of its range. Therefore, we conclude, based on this screening analysis, that no portions warrant further consideration through a more detailed analysis, and the species is not in danger of extinction in any significant portion of its range. Our approach to analyzing significant portions of the species’ range in this determination is consistent with the courts’ holdings in Desert Survivors v. Department of the Interior, No. 16–cv– 01165–JCS, 2018 WL 4053447 (N.D. Cal. Aug. 24, 2018); Center for Biological Diversity v. Jewell, 248 F. Supp. 3d, 946, 959 (D. Ariz. 2017); and Center for Biological Diversity v. Everson, 2020 WL 437289 (D.D.C. Jan. 28, 2020). Determination of Status Our review of the best available scientific and commercial information indicates that the golden conure meets the definition of a threatened species. Therefore, we are listing the golden conure as a threatened species in accordance with sections 3(20) and 4(a)(1) of the Act. 4(d) Rule When a species is listed as endangered, certain actions are prohibited under section 9 of the Act and our regulations at 50 CFR 17.21. These include, among others, prohibitions on take within the United States, within the territorial seas of the United States, or upon the high seas; import; export; and shipment in interstate or foreign commerce in the course of a commercial activity. Exceptions to the prohibitions for endangered species may be granted in accordance with section 10 of the Act and our regulations at 50 CFR 17.22. The Act does not specify particular prohibitions and exceptions to those prohibitions for threatened species. Instead, under section 4(d) of the Act, the Secretary of the Interior, as well as the Secretary of Commerce depending on the species, was given the discretion to issue such regulations as deemed necessary and advisable to provide for the conservation of such species. The Secretary also has the discretion to prohibit by regulation with respect to any threatened species any act E:\FR\FM\23APR1.SGM 23APR1 22662 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 79 / Thursday, April 23, 2020 / Rules and Regulations lotter on DSKBCFDHB2PROD with RULES prohibited under section 9(a)(1) of the Act. For the golden conure, the Service is exercising our discretion to issue a rule under section 4(d) of the Act by extending the regulations at 50 CFR 17.41(c) that provide for the conservation of certain species in the parrot family to the golden conure. These provisions generally extend the prohibitions included in 50 CFR 17.21, except 50 CFR 17.21(c)(5) and as provided in subpart A of part 17, or in a permit. Further, the import and export of certain golden conures into and from the United States and certain acts in interstate commerce will be allowed without a permit under the Act, as explained below. Import and Export The 4(d) rule imposes a prohibition on imports and exports, but creates exceptions for certain golden conures. Shipments of captive specimens (i.e., not taken from the wild) may include live and dead golden conures and parts and products, including the import and export of personal pets and research samples. The 4(d) rule adopts the existing conservation regulatory requirements of CITES and the WBCA as the appropriate regulatory provisions for the import and export of these golden conure specimens. This 4(d) rule allows a person to import or export, into and from the United States, captive specimens, without a permit issued under the Act, provided that the export is authorized under CITES and the import is authorized under CITES and the WBCA. The import would require a CITES document issued by the foreign Management Authority indicating a source code of ‘‘C’’, ‘‘D’’, or ‘‘F.’’ Exporters of captive birds would need to provide a signed and dated statement from the breeder of the bird, along with documentation that identifies the source of their breeding stock in order to obtain a CITES export permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Division of Management Authority. Exporters of captive-bred birds must provide a signed and dated statement from the breeder of the bird confirming its captive-bred status, and documentation on the source of the breeder’s breeding stock. The source codes of C, D, and F for CITES permits and certificates are as follows: • Source Code C: Animals bred in captivity in accordance with Resolution Conf. 10.16 (Rev.), as well as parts and derivatives thereof, exported under the provisions of Article VII, paragraph 5 of the Convention. • Source Code D: Appendix I animals bred in captivity for commercial VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:13 Apr 22, 2020 Jkt 250001 purposes in operations included in the Secretariat’s Register, in accordance with Resolution Conf. 12.10 (Rev. CoP15), and Appendix I plants artificially propagated for commercial purposes, as well as parts and derivatives thereof, exported under the provisions of Article VII, paragraph 4, of the Convention. • Source Code F: Animals born in captivity (F1 or subsequent generations) that do not fulfill the definition of ‘‘bred in captivity’’ in Resolution Conf. 10.16 (Rev.), as well as parts and derivatives thereof. The 4(d) rule does not allow any U.S. import or export of golden conures that are taken from the wild; such birds would continue to need a permit under the Act, with the following exception: A person may import or export a wild golden conure specimen if the specimen was held in captivity prior to the date the species was listed in CITES Appendix I (i.e., prior to the date that CITES entered into force on July 1, 1975, with ‘‘golden parakeet’’ (i.e., the golden conure) listed in Appendix I) and provided that the specimen meets all the requirements of CITES and WBCA. If a specimen was taken from the wild and held in captivity prior to that date (July 1, 1975), the exporter will need to provide documentation as part of the application for a U.S. CITES preconvention certificate. Examples of documentation may include: (1) A copy of the original CITES permit indicating when the bird was removed from the wild, (2) veterinary records, or (3) museum specimen reports. Additionally, consistent with the 4(d) rule for other species in the parrot family at 50 CFR 17.41(c), the prohibitions on take will apply and the 4(d) rule will require a permit under the Act for any activity that could take a golden conure. Our regulations at 50 CFR 17.3 establish that take, when applied to captive wildlife, does not include generally accepted animal husbandry practices, breeding procedures, or provisions of veterinary care for confining, tranquilizing, or anesthetizing, when such practices are not likely to result in injury to the wildlife. We assessed the conservation needs of the golden conure in light of the broad protections provided to the species under CITES and the WBCA. As noted above in Summary of Factors Affecting the Species, some level of poaching for illegal trade of golden conures is occurring within Brazil (Silveira and Belmonte in press, unpaginated), but there is little evidence that this practice occurs at the international level (Laranjeiras 2011a, unpaginated; PO 00000 Frm 00082 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 Silveira and Belmonte in press, unpaginated). The best available commercial data indicate that tighter enforcement of CITES, stricter European Union legislation, adoption of the WBCA in the United States, and adoption of national legislation in other countries have all helped to significantly curtail illegal international trade (Snyder et al. 2000, p. 99). Therefore, illegal international trade is not likely to be occurring at levels that negatively affect the golden conure population. Additionally, legal international trade of the species is not currently occurring at levels that affect the golden conure population. Therefore, we find that the import and export requirements of the 4(d) rule provide the necessary and advisable conservation measures that are needed for this species. This 4(d) rule will streamline the permitting process for these types of activities by deferring to existing laws that are protective of golden conures in the course of import and export. Interstate Commerce Under the 4(d) rule, except where use after import is restricted under 50 CFR 23.55, a person may deliver, receive, carry, transport, or ship a golden conure in interstate commerce in the course of a commercial activity, or sell or offer to sell in interstate commerce a golden conure without a permit under the Act. At the same time, the prohibitions on take under 50 CFR 17.21 apply under this 4(d) rule, and any interstate commerce activities that could incidentally take golden conure or otherwise constitute prohibited acts in foreign commerce require a permit under 50 CFR 17.32. Between 1981 and 2016, persons within the United States imported 54 golden conures and exported 26; all were reported as live captive-bred birds except two exported birds that originated from an unknown source and one imported bird seized upon import (UNEP–WCMC 2018, unpaginated; Service 2018, p. 33). These imports and exports were made for commercial, captive-breeding, zoological, and personal purposes (UNEP–WCMC 2018, unpaginated; Service 2018, p. 33). We have no information to indicate that interstate commerce activities in the United States are associated with threats to the golden conure or would negatively affect any efforts aimed at the recovery of wild populations of the species. Therefore, because (1) acts in interstate commerce within the United States have not been found to threaten the golden conure, (2) the species is otherwise protected in the course of E:\FR\FM\23APR1.SGM 23APR1 22663 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 79 / Thursday, April 23, 2020 / Rules and Regulations interstate and foreign commercial activities under the take provisions as extended through 50 CFR 17.41(c), and (3) international trade of this species appears to be effectively regulated under CITES, we find the 4(d) rule contains all the prohibitions and authorizations necessary and advisable for the conservation of the golden conure. seq.) by changing the name as currently listed (i.e., golden parakeet (Aratinga guarouba)) to the corrected species name (i.e., golden conure or golden parakeet (Guaruba guarouba)). Technical Correction 50 CFR 17.11(c) and 17.12(b) direct us to use the most recently accepted scientific name of any wildlife or plant species, respectively, that we have determined to be an endangered or threatened species. The golden conure currently appears on the List as the ‘‘golden parakeet’’ (Aratinga guarouba). Both ‘‘golden conure’’ and ‘‘golden parakeet’’ are common names associated with Guaruba guarouba. However, we find that the best available scientific information available supports the designation of the golden conure to its own genus (Guaruba). Therefore, we are updating the List to reflect this change in the scientific name for golden conure. The basis for this taxonomic change is supported by published studies in peerreviewed journals (e.g., Uranto´wka and Mackiewicz 2017, entire; Tavares et al. 2004, pp. 230, 236–237, 239; Sick 1990, p. 112). Accordingly, we are correcting the scientific name of the species under section 4 of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1531 et We have determined that we do not need to prepare an environmental assessment, as defined under the authority of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, in connection with regulations adopted under section 4(a) of the Endangered Species Act. We published a notice outlining our reasons for this determination in the Federal Register on October 25, 1983 (48 FR 49244). Common name * BIRDS * Conure, golden, (=golden parakeet). * * * Special rules—birds. lotter on DSKBCFDHB2PROD with RULES * * * * * (c) The following species in the parrot family: Salmon-crested cockatoo (Cacatua moluccensis), yellow-billed parrot (Amazona collaria), white cockatoo (Cacatua alba), hyacinth macaw (Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus), scarlet macaw (Ara macao macao and scarlet macaw subspecies crosses (Ara 17:13 Apr 22, 2020 Jkt 250001 The primary authors of this final rule are the staff members of the Branch of Delisting and Foreign Species, Ecological Services Program, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Where listed * * (h) * * * * * T * * * * * 41 FR 24062, 6/14/1976; 85 FR [Insert Federal Register page where the document begins], 4/23/2020; 50 CFR 17.41(c).4d * Sfmt 9990 * Listing citations and applicable rules * * Wherever found .............. Fmt 4700 Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1361–1407; 1531– 1544; and 4201–4245, unless otherwise noted. * Status * Frm 00083 1. The authority citation for part 17 continues to read as follows: ■ § 17.11 Endangered and threatened wildlife. macao macao and Ara macao cyanoptera)), and golden conure (Guaruba guarouba). * * * * * (2) * * * (ii) Specimens held in captivity prior to certain dates: You must provide documentation to demonstrate that the specimen was held in captivity prior to the applicable date specified in paragraph (c)(2)(ii)(A), (B), (C), (D), (E), or (F) of this section. Such documentation may include copies of receipts, accession or veterinary records, CITES documents, or wildlife PO 00000 PART 17—ENDANGERED AND THREATENED WILDLIFE AND PLANTS 2. Amend § 17.11(h), in the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife under BIRDS, by: ■ a. Adding an entry for ‘‘Conure, golden (=golden parakeet)’’ in alphabetical order; and ■ b. Removing the entry for ‘‘Parakeet, golden’’. The addition reads as follows: Authors * Accordingly, we amend part 17, subchapter B of chapter I, title 50 of the Code of Federal Regulations, as set forth below: ■ A complete list of references cited in this rulemaking is available on the internet at http://www.regulations.gov under Docket No. FWS–HQ–ES–2015– 0019 or upon request (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT). * * Guaruba guarouba ......... 3. Amend § 17.41 by revising paragraphs (c) introductory text and (c)(2)(ii) introductory text and adding paragraph (c)(2)(ii)(F) to read as follows: VerDate Sep<11>2014 References Cited * Endangered and threatened species, Exports, Imports, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Transportation. Regulation Promulgation National Environmental Policy Act (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) Scientific name ■ § 17.41 Required Determinations List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 17 * * declaration forms, which must be dated prior to the specified dates. * * * * * (F) For golden conures: July 1, 1975 (the date CITES entered into force with the ‘‘golden parakeet’’ (i.e., the golden conure) listed in Appendix I of the Convention). * * * * * Aurelia Skipwith, Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. [FR Doc. 2020–07571 Filed 4–22–20; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4333–15–P E:\FR\FM\23APR1.SGM 23APR1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 85, Number 79 (Thursday, April 23, 2020)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 22653-22663]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2020-07571]


=======================================================================
-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

[Docket No. FWS-HQ-ES-2015-0019; 4500090024]
RIN 1018-BC78


Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Reclassifying the 
Golden Conure From Endangered to Threatened With a Section 4(d) Rule

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Final rule.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), reclassify 
the golden conure (Gauruba guarouba) under the Endangered Species Act 
of 1973, as amended (Act), from endangered to threatened on the Federal 
List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife (List). Our determination is 
based on a thorough review of the best available scientific and 
commercial information, which indicates that the golden conure no 
longer meets the definition of an endangered species, but is likely to 
become an endangered species within the foreseeable future throughout 
all or a significant portion of its range. We are also establishing a 
rule pursuant to section 4(d) of the Act for the golden conure to 
provide for its further conservation. Additionally, this final rule 
updates the List to reflect the latest scientifically accepted taxonomy 
and nomenclature for the species as Guaruba guarouba, golden conure.

DATES: This rule is effective May 26, 2020.

ADDRESSES: Comments and materials received, as well as supporting 
documentation used in the preparation of this rule, are available for 
public inspection at http://www.regulations.gov under Docket No. FWS-
HQ-ES-2015-0019.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Don Morgan, Chief, Branch of Delisting 
and Foreign Species, Ecological Services, U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service, MS: ES, 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041-3803; 
telephone, 703-358-2444. If you use a telecommunications device for the 
deaf (TDD), call the Federal Relay Service at 800-877-8339.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Previous Federal Actions

    On September 5, 2018, we published in the Federal Register (83 FR 
45073) our 12-month finding on a petition to remove the golden conure 
from the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife (i.e., ``delist'' 
the species) or to reclassify the golden conure from an endangered to a 
threatened species (i.e., ``downlist'' the species) determining that 
reclassification was warranted. Accordingly, we published a proposed 
rule to downlist the golden conure under the Act (16 U.S.C. 1531 et 
seq.) and proposed a rule pursuant to section 4(d) to further the 
conservation of the golden conure. Please refer to that document for 
information on Federal actions occurring before September 5, 2018, for 
the golden conure.

Summary of Changes From the Proposed Rule

    During the comment period on our September 5, 2018, proposed rule 
(83 FR 45073), we received updated information regarding the golden 
conure reintroduction program occurring in the Bel[eacute]m region of 
Par[aacute] at Utinga State Park. We have incorporated this information 
under Conservation Measures and Regulatory Mechanisms in this rule and 
have updated the species status assessment (SSA) report.

Background

    A thorough review of the taxonomy, life history, ecology, and 
overall viability of the golden conure is presented in the species 
status assessment (SSA) report for the golden conure (Service 2018; 
available at Docket No. FWS-HQ-ES-2015-0019 on http://www.regulations.gov). The SSA report documents the results of the 
comprehensive biological study for the golden conure and provides an 
account of the species' overall viability through forecasting of the 
species' condition in the future (Service 2018, entire). In the SSA 
report, we summarize the relevant biological data and a description of 
past, present, and likely future stressors, and we conduct an analysis 
of the viability of the species. The SSA report provides the scientific 
basis that informs our statutory decision regarding whether this 
species should be listed as an

[[Page 22654]]

endangered or a threatened species under the Act. This decision 
involves the application of standards within the Act, its implementing 
regulations, and Service policies (see Determination, below). The SSA 
report contains the risk analysis on which this determination is based, 
and the following discussion is a summary of the results and 
conclusions from the SSA report. We solicited peer review of the draft 
SSA report from five qualified experts. We received responses from four 
of the reviewers, and we modified the SSA report as appropriate. In 
addition to our SSA report, the summary of the biological background of 
the species can also be found in our September 5, 2018, proposed rule 
(83 FR 45073).

Summary of Factors Affecting the Species

    Section 4 of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1533) and its implementing 
regulations (50 CFR part 424) set forth the procedures for determining 
whether a species is an ``endangered species'' or a ``threatened 
species.'' The Act defines an endangered species as a species that is 
``in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of 
its range,'' and a threatened species as a species that is ``likely to 
become an endangered species within the foreseeable future throughout 
all or a significant portion of its range.'' The Act directs us to 
determine whether any species is an endangered species or a threatened 
species because of one or more of the following factors affecting its 
continued existence: (A) The present or threatened destruction, 
modification, or curtailment of its habitat or range; (B) 
overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or 
educational purposes; (C) disease or predation; (D) the inadequacy of 
existing regulatory mechanisms; or (E) other natural or manmade factors 
affecting its continued existence.
    We completed a comprehensive assessment of the biological status of 
the golden conure, and prepared a report of the assessment, which 
provides a thorough account of the species' overall viability. In the 
discussion below, we summarize the conclusions of that SSA, which can 
be accessed at Docket No. FWS-HQ-ES-2015-0019 on http://www.regulations.gov. Please refer to the SSA report and the Summary of 
Factors Affecting the Species section in the proposed rule (83 FR 
45073, September 5, 2018, pp. 45077-45080) for a more detailed 
discussion of the factors affecting the golden conure.

Habitat Loss--Deforestation

    Large-scale deforestation in the Amazon has occurred since the 
1970s and 1980s concurrent with the growth of Brazil's economy (GFA 
2017, unpaginated). The Brazilian Amazon is approximately the size of 
Western Europe, and as of 2016, an area the size of France has been 
lost to deforestation (Fearnside 2017a, pp. 1, 3). Approximately 30 to 
35 percent of the golden conure's range has already been lost to 
deforestation, primarily in the eastern states of Par[aacute] and 
Maranh[atilde]o (Laranjeiras 2011a, unpaginated; Laranjeiras and Cohn-
Haft 2009, p. 8), and another 23 to 30 percent of the golden conure's 
habitat is predicted to be lost within 22 years or three generations 
(Bird et al. 2011, appendix S1). The golden conure's range partially 
overlaps what is known as the ``arc of deforestation,'' an area in the 
southeastern Amazon where rates of deforestation and forest 
fragmentation have been the highest (Prioste et al. 2012, p. 701; 
Laranjeiras 2011a, unpaginated; Laranjeiras and Cohn-Haft 2009, p. 8).
    After a long period of deforestation in the Amazon, rates of 
deforestation dropped dramatically to levels not recorded in recent 
decades (Alves et al. 2017, p. 76). However, despite declines in the 
deforestation rate, the total area deforested in Brazil's Amazon has 
risen steadily since deforestation rates were first measured in 1988 
(IPAM 2017, p. 7 using PRODES 2017 data). More recently, deforestation 
rates are increasing again (Fearnside 2017b, p. 1; IPAM 2017, p. 15; 
Biderman and Nogueron 2016, unpaginated), as global demand for 
agricultural commodities continues to rise (Brando et al. 2016, 
abstract), and the ``arc of deforestation'' is likely to continue to be 
a hotspot (Alves et al. 2017, p. 76).
    Forest habitat degradation and fragmentation typically begin with 
road construction and subsequent human settlement. Nearly 95 percent of 
all deforestation occurred within 5.5 kilometers (km) (3.4 miles (mi)) 
of roads or 1 km (0.6 mi) of rivers (Barber et al. 2014, pp. 203, 
205, 208). Roads are rapidly expanding in the region and 
contribute to further habitat degradation and fragmentation (Barber et 
al. 2014, p. 203).
    Logging in the Amazon was once restricted to areas bordering major 
rivers, but the construction of highways and strategic access roads and 
the depletion of hardwood stocks in the south of Brazil made logging an 
important, growing industry (Ver[iacute]ssimo et al. 1992, p. 170). 
Logging operations typically occur on private lands (GFA 2018a and b, 
unpaginated). After logging, the land may be clear-cut and burned, in 
preparation for crops (Reynolds 2003, p. 10). Although the Brazilian 
forest code requires private landowners in the Amazon to maintain 80 
percent of their land as forest, the code has been poorly enforced (GFA 
2018b, unpaginated), and full compliance has not been achieved (Azevedo 
et al. 2017, entire; see Conservation Measures and Regulatory 
Mechanisms, below). Logging on public lands is allowed via concessions 
where logging companies are granted logging rights for a fee (GFA 
2018a, unpaginated). However, the concession system is not currently 
working as intended, and illegal logging in public protected areas 
remains a serious threat, particularly logging of mahogany (Swietenia 
macrophylla) (BLI 2016, p. 5), a CITES (Convention on International 
Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) Appendix II 
species (CITES 2018b). Although selective logging and requirements for 
minimum tree sizes are intended to minimize effects to the forest, 
logging of larger trees is likely to have a greater effect on the 
golden conure because the species uses larger, older trees for its 
nesting and roosting (Yamashita 2003, p. 38).
    Expanding crop production and ranching are also major drivers of 
deforestation in the Amazon basin. Soy beans are primarily used for 
cattle feed, and in the 1990s and early 2000s, high demand for beef 
created a ``soy-cattle pasture deforestation dynamic,'' where soy 
production replaced existing cattle pasture, and forced new 
deforestation into the Amazon for cattle ranching (GFA 2018c, 
unpaginated). In the 2 years preceding the moratorium (instituted in 
2006), approximately 30 percent of soy expansion occurred through 
deforestation rather than by replacement of pasture or other previously 
cleared lands; by 2014, just 1 percent of soy expansion was responsible 
for deforestation in Brazil's Amazon (Gibbs et al. 2015, p. 377). The 
soy moratorium was renewed indefinitely in 2016, or until it is no 
longer needed (Pati[ntilde]o 2016, unpaginated).
    Cattle ranching is the largest cause of deforestation in every 
Amazon country and is responsible for about 80 percent of current 
deforestation rates (GFA 2018d, unpaginated). Brazil is the largest 
beef exporter in the world, supplying about one quarter of the world 
market (GFA 2018d, unpaginated). In 2015 and 2016, new markets for 
Brazilian beef were opened

[[Page 22655]]

up via agreements with Russia, the United States, and China (Fearnside 
2017b, p. 14). The Chinese market, in particular, has significant 
potential demand for both beef and leather, with China being the 
world's largest manufacturer of shoes (Fearnside 2017b, p. 16).
    Conversion of native forest for the cultivation of palm plantations 
for the production of palm oil is likely to further reduce the amount 
of habitat available to the golden conure. The Brazilian government 
plans to increase biofuel production in the next decade, driven 
primarily by demands for fuel (ethanol and biodiesel) (Villela et al. 
2014, p. 273). A recent study of regional avian biodiversity in palm 
oil plantations concluded that they are as detrimental to avian 
biodiversity as other forms of agriculture such as cattle pasture (Lees 
et al. 2015, entire). Therefore, any native forest converted to palm 
plantations will result in habitat loss for the golden conure, and any 
degraded land that is planted for palm oil will not regenerate or be 
restored to suitable habitat for the species.
    Increased fire risk from human settlement and the activities noted 
above further contribute to deforestation (Barber et al. 2014, p. 203) 
(see Projected Effects from Climate Change, below). Fire for land 
management is now common in rural Amazonia (Malhi et al. 2008, p. 171), 
but wildfires in tropical forests of the Amazon were rare over the past 
millennia, and trees are not adapted for fire (Fearnside 2009, p. 
1005). Amazonian trees have thin bark and fire heats the cambium under 
the bark at the base of the trunk, causing the tree to die and further 
contributing to deforestation (Fearnside 2009, p. 1005).
    Hydroelectric dams are also a major contributor to deforestation in 
the Amazon. Brazil is the second-largest producer of hydroelectricity 
in the world (after China), and hydropower supplies about 75 percent of 
Brazil's electricity (GFA 2018e, unpaginated; Fearnside 2017c, 
unpaginated). The Brazilian government recently announced an end to the 
construction of large dams in the Amazon (Branford 2018, unpaginated), 
but smaller dams within the golden conure's range are still under 
construction or planned (GFA 2018e, unpaginated; Fearnside 2017c, 
unpaginated; Nobre et al. 2016, p. 10763).
    Mining for minerals also contributes to deforestation of the 
Amazon; it grew from 1.6 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 
2000, to 4.1 percent in 2011, and is projected to increase by a factor 
of 3 to 5 by 2030 (Brasil Minist[eacute]rio de Minas e Energia 2010, as 
cited by Ferreira et al. 2014, p. 706). Mining leases, exploration 
permits, and concessions collectively encompass 1.65 million square 
kilometers (km\2\) (0.64 million square miles (mi\2\)) of land, with 
about 60 percent located in the Amazon forest (Departamento Nacional de 
Produ[ccedil][atilde]o Mineral 2012, as cited in Sonter et al. 2017, p. 
1).

Deforestation Rates and Gross Domestic Product

    Annual deforestation rates in the Brazilian Amazon have always 
varied, but have generally been correlated with national economic 
growth as measured by GDP (Petherick 2013, p. 7; Hochstetler and Viola 
2012, p. 759). However, beginning in 2005, measures of deforestation 
and GDP have separated or ``decoupled'' (Lapola et al. 2014, p. 27; 
Petherick 2013, p. 7). The Amazon experienced dramatic reductions in 
annual average rates of deforestation from almost 21,000 km\2\ (8,108 
mi\2\) between 2000 and 2004--to about 7,000 km\2\ (2,703 mi\2\) in 
2009 and 2010 (Prodes 2017, unpaginated; Petherick 2013, p. 8; 
Hochstetler and Viola 2012, p. 759) and 6,418 km\2\ (2,478 mi\2\) in 
2011 (Prodes 2017, unpaginated). During this same period, Brazil's GDP 
rose steadily, indicating strong, sustained growth from an export 
commodity boom (Petherick 2013 p.7; Hochstetler and Viola 2012, pp. 
759-760).
    Decoupling has been attributed to a number of factors with no clear 
consensus on which factor has been the most effective (Moutinho 2015, 
p. 2). Contributing factors include government strategies and policies 
for forest conservation (Assun[ccedil][atilde]o et al. 2012, p. 697) 
such as: (1) The expansion of protected areas, which reduced the supply 
of unclaimed forest land (Nepstad et al. 2014, p. 1118); (2) an effort 
that began in 2007 to blacklist the worst deforesters; and (3) efforts 
to monitor and control municipalities with high levels of illegal 
deforestation through sanctions and restricted access to credit 
(Moutinho 2015, p. 3; Assun[ccedil][atilde]o et al. 2012, p. 698). 
Reductions in deforestation have also been attributed to market and 
social forces, such as decreases in the price of agricultural 
commodities (including soy and beef) in 2005 (Fearnside 2017b, p. 1; 
Assun[ccedil][atilde]o et al. 2012, entire) and the 2006 soy moratorium 
(Gibbs et al. 2015, pp. 377-378).
    Brazil is one of the countries that currently has comparatively low 
productivity levels and is projected to grow faster as it catches up 
with more developed countries (Guardian 2012, unpaginated). Forecasts 
vary for Brazil's GDP purchasing power parity (GDP PPP), with one 
forecast predicting that GDP PPP will rise steadily through 2050 (PWC 
Global 2016, unpaginated), while a more recent forecast predicts that 
GDP PPP will stagnate and then drop after about 2050 (Knoema 2018, 
unpaginated).

Illegal Collection and Trade

    The golden conure is highly prized as an aviary bird and has been 
extensively trapped for both the domestic and international pet trade 
in the past (BLI 2016, p. 5; Alves et al. 2013, p. 60; Laranjeiras 
2011a, unpaginated; Yamashita 2003, p. 38; Snyder et al. 2000, p. 132; 
Collar 1992, p. 304; Oren and Novaes 1986, pp. 329, 334-335). However, 
there is little evidence that this practice is continuing in 
international trade (Laranjeiras 2011a, unpaginated; Silveira and 
Belmonte in press, unpaginated).
    In contrast, the illegal domestic market for the species is still 
occurring at some level (Silveira and Belmonte in press, unpaginated). 
Historically, keeping birds was an important part of local indigenous 
tradition and culture (Carvalho 1951 and Cascudo 1973, as cited by 
Alves et al. 2013, p. 54). Young birds were taken from the wild to 
raise as pets and for feathers, but now are also sold to bird traders 
(Oren and Novaes 1986, p. 335). Much of the area occupied by the golden 
conure is poor, and selling the birds for the domestic pet trade 
provides an extra source of income (Yamashita 2003, p. 39).
    There are mixed reports regarding the degree to which illegal 
capture of golden conures from the wild (``poaching'') occurs. The 
Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources 
(IBAMA) has licensed and regulated bird breeding in an effort to reduce 
poaching (Alves et al. 2013, p. 61). As a result, several sources 
believe poaching is no longer a major concern for the species because 
trade is thought to mostly be from the substantial captive population 
(Silveira in litt. 2012, Lees in litt. 2013, in BLI 2016, p. 5). 
However, some level of illegal capture and trade of the species is 
still believed to occur (Lima in litt. 2018). Captive rearing may not 
be a practical alternative to illegal trade, particularly in low-income 
areas, because the price of commercially bred birds is approximately 10 
times higher than wild-caught individuals (Renctas 2001, as cited in 
Alves et al. 2013, p. 61; Machado 2002, as cited in Alves et al. 2010, 
p. 155).
    Additionally, oversight of domestic wildlife-breeding facilities in 
Brazil is limited (Alves et al. 2010, entire), and

[[Page 22656]]

many wild bird species declared to be captive-bred are actually born in 
the wild and traded under fraudulent documentation (Alves et al. 2013, 
p. 61). Most wildlife centers responsible for managing, licensing, and 
inspecting all categories of breeders, traders, and zoos (Kuhnen and 
Kanaan 2014, p. 125) lack resources and funding (Padrone 2004, as cited 
in Kuhnen and Kanaan 2014, p. 125). Also, there are not enough 
inspections at market places and commercial breeding facilities to 
fight illegal domestic trade (Alves et al. 2010, pp. 154-155).
    The United States is a major importer of pet birds, yet relatively 
little trade in the golden conure has been observed. We reviewed all 
records of legal and intercepted illegal trade in the CITES annual 
trade records submitted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from 1981 
to 2016. Overall, the U.S. trade in the golden conure has been 
relatively low compared with other pet birds, likely because the golden 
conure was included in CITES Appendix I in 1975 and we listed the 
species under the Act in 1976.

Projected Effects From Climate Change

    Changes in Brazil's climate and associated changes to the landscape 
are likely to result in additional habitat loss for the golden conure. 
Across Brazil, temperatures are projected to increase and precipitation 
to decrease (Barros and Albernaz 2014, p. 811; Carabine and Lemma 2014, 
p. 11). The 2013 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 
predicted that by 2100, South America will experience temperature 
increases ranging from 1.7 to 6.7 degrees Celsius ([deg]C) (3.06 to 
12.06 degrees Fahrenheit ([deg]F)) under Representative Concentration 
Pathway (RCP) 4.5 and RCP 8.5, respectively (Carabine and Lemma 2014, 
p. 10; Magrin et al. 2014, p. 1502). Projected changes in precipitation 
in South America vary by region, with rainfall reductions in the Amazon 
estimated with medium confidence (about a 5 out of 10 chance) (IPCC 
2018, unpaginated; Carabine and Lemma 2014, p. 11; Magrin et al. 2014, 
p. 1502).
    Downscaled models, based in part on the 2007 IPCC data, predict 
more severe changes than the average expected global variation, with 
the greatest warming and drying occurring over the Amazon rainforest, 
particularly after 2040 (Marengo et al. 2011, pp. 8, 15, 27, 39, 48; 
F[eacute]res et al. 2009, p. 2). Estimates of temperature changes in 
the Amazon by the end of the 21st century are 2.2 [deg]C (4 [deg]F) 
under a low greenhouse gas emission scenario and 4.5 [deg]C (8 [deg]F) 
under a high-emission scenario (Marengo et al. 2011, p. 27). The 
downscaled model for the Amazon used a previously provided set of 
scenarios known as the Special Report on Emissions Scenarios (SRES) to 
project the low-emissions using scenario (SRES B1) and high-emissions 
scenario (SRES A2) (Marengo et al. 2011, p. 27). More recently, a newer 
set of scenarios (i.e., RCPs) were prepared that include a wider range 
of future conditions and emissions. However, to compare the SRES and 
RCP scenarios, SRES B1 is roughly comparable to RCP 4.5 and SRES A2 is 
similar to RCP 8.5 (U.S. National Climate Change Assessment 2014, p. 
821). These similarities between specific RCP and SRES scenarios make 
it possible to compare the results from different modeling efforts over 
time (U.S. National Climate Change Assessment 2014, p. 821).
    The risks to the golden conure from deforestation will likely be 
intensified by synergistic effects associated with climate change 
(Staal et al. 2015, p. 2) because a number of large-scale drivers of 
environmental change (i.e., land-use change from deforestation and 
climate changes due to global warming) are operating simultaneously and 
interacting nonlinearly in the Amazon (Nobre et al. 2016, p. 10759). 
Increased temperatures and frequency or severity of droughts put the 
Amazon region at a higher risk of forest loss and more frequent 
wildfires (Magrin et al. 2007, p. 596; Marengo et al. 2011, p. 48). The 
Amazon's rainforest may have two ``tipping points'': (1) A temperature 
increase of 4.0 [deg]C (7.2 [deg]F); or (2) deforestation exceeding 40 
percent (Nobre et al. 2016, p. 10759), that once exceeded could cause 
large-scale shifts in the vegetation to a savanna (i.e., 
``savannization'') mostly in the southern and eastern Amazon (Nobre et 
al. 2016, p. 10759) within the golden conure's range.
    Similarly, a study that considered only the effects from global 
warming (i.e., absent deforestation) predicted that by the end of this 
century, some areas of rainforest will be replaced by deciduous forest 
and grassland using scenario RCP 4.5 and by all grassland using 
scenario RCP 8.5 (Lyra et al. 2016, entire). Although the projected 
outcomes of models are not definitive, any terra firme (unflooded) 
forest habitat that shifts from rainforest to other habitat types 
(e.g., savanna) would result in loss of habitat for the golden conure.

Other Potential Stressors

    Other potential stressors to the golden conure include hunting and 
persecution (Factor B), and predation or disease (Factor C). The 
species is likely still hunted at low levels as a food source and for 
feathers, and birds that raid crops may be shot by farmers (Oren and 
Novaes 1986, p. 335). However, we have no information about the rate 
that these activities may be occurring or the extent to which they may 
be affecting populations. Similarly, we have no information regarding 
diseases that may affect golden conures in the wild.
    Golden conures, including eggs and nestlings, are prey to a variety 
of native predators, including toucans (Oren and Novaes 1986, p. 334; 
Forshaw 2017, p. 228); raptors (Laranjeiras 2008a, as cited in 
Laranjeiras 2011a, unpaginated; Silveira and Belmonte in press, 
unpaginated); monkeys; snakes; and the tayra (Eira barbara), an 
omnivorous weasel (Oren and Novaes 1986, p. 334). However, we have no 
information regarding the rates of predation on the golden conure from 
these predators and how that may be affecting the golden conure.

Conservation Measures and Regulatory Mechanisms

    The conservation measures and regulatory mechanisms for the golden 
conure are described in the proposed rule (83 FR 45073; September 5, 
2018) and are summarized below. The golden conure is considered 
``vulnerable'' at the national level in Brazil (MMA 2014, p. 122). 
Golden conures and their nests, shelters, and breeding grounds are 
protected by Brazilian environmental laws (Clayton 2011, p. 4; 
Environmental Crimes law of Brazil (1999) as cited in MSU 2018, 
unpaginated; Official List of Brazilian Endangered Animal Species Order 
No. 1.522/1989 as cited in ECOLEX 2018; CFRB 2010, p. 150; Law No. 
5.197/1967 as cited in LatinLawyer 2018, unpaginated). Various 
regulatory mechanisms (Law No. 11.516, Act No. 7.735, and Decree No. 
78, as cited in ECOLEX 2018, unpaginated) and Law 6.938/
1981(LatinLawyer 2018, unpaginated) direct Brazil's federal and state 
agencies to promote the protection of lands and govern the formal 
establishment and management of protected areas to promote conservation 
of the country's natural resources. Additionally, several Brazilian 
laws are designed to protect forest reserves and to prohibit fire and 
other actions, such as logging, without authorization (Clayton 2011, p. 
5; Law No. 9.605/1998 as cited in LatinLawyer 2018, unpaginated).

Protected Areas

    Protected areas have traditionally formed the backbone of forest 
conservation in the Amazon Basin, and

[[Page 22657]]

they still remain a vital conservation strategy (GFA 2018f, 
unpaginated). Brazil has the largest protected area network in the 
world. The National Protected Areas System (Federal Act 9.985/2000, as 
cited in LatinLawyer 2018, unpaginated) was established in 2000, and 
covers nearly 2.2 million km\2\ (0.8 million mi\2\) or 12.4 percent of 
the global total (WDPA 2012, as cited by Ferreira et al. 2014, p. 706). 
This extensive network of protected areas is intended to (1) preserve 
priority biodiversity conservation areas, (2) establish biodiversity 
corridors, and (3) protect portions of the 23 Amazonian ecoregions 
identified by the World Wildlife Fund (Rylands and Brandon 2005, pp. 
612, 615; Silva 2005, entire). Brazil's Protected Areas may be 
categorized as ``strictly protected'' or ``sustainable use'' based on 
their overall management objectives. Strictly protected areas include 
national parks, biological reserves, ecological stations, natural 
monuments, and wildlife refuges protected for educational and 
recreational purposes and scientific research. Protected areas of 
sustainable use (national forests, environmental protection areas, 
areas of relevant ecological interest, extractive reserves, fauna 
reserves, sustainable development reserves, and private natural 
heritage reserves) allow for different types and levels of human use 
with conservation of biodiversity as a secondary objective.
    By 2006, 1.8 million km\2\ (0.7 million mi\2\), or approximately 45 
percent of Brazil's Amazonian tropical forest, was under some level of 
protection as federal- or state-managed land, or designated as 
indigenous reserve (managed by indigenous communities) (Barber et al. 
2014, p. 204). Of this, 19.2 percent was strictly protected areas, and 
30.6 percent was comprised of federal and state sustainable use areas, 
with indigenous reserves making up the remainder (Barber et al. 2014, 
p. 204).
    Indigenous lands are legally recognized areas where indigenous 
peoples have perpetual rights of access, use, withdrawal, management, 
and exclusion over the land and associated resources (GFW 2018, 
unpaginated). Indigenous communities sustainably use their forest land, 
practice shifting cultivation, trade non-timber forest products, and 
may allow selective logging (GFA 2018g, unpaginated; Schwartzman and 
Zimmerman 2005, p. 721). Large-scale deforestation is prohibited 
(Barber et al. 2014, p. 204).
    Protected areas have been emphasized as a key component for the 
golden conure's survival (e.g., in the Tapajos River region and the 
Gurupi Biological Preserve) (Laranjeiras and Cohn-Haft 2009, pp. 1, 8; 
Silveira and Belmonte in press, unpaginated). The species' predicted 
range overlaps with numerous protected areas such as national parks and 
national forests, which have various levels of protection (Service 
2018, pp. 68-70; Laranjeiras and Cohn-Haft 2009, p. 8). Additionally, 
the species occurs in nine areas recently designated as ``Important 
Bird Areas'' (IBAs) in Brazil (BLI 2018a-h, unpaginated; Lima et al. 
2014, p. 318; Laranjeiras 2011a, unpaginated; Devenish et al. 2009, pp. 
104-106). IBAs are places of international significance for the 
conservation of birds and other biodiversity (BLI 2018i, unpaginated). 
Levels of protection at IBAs vary from fully protected within Protected 
Areas to no protections and are outside the National Protected Area 
System (BLI 2018i, unpaginated).
    Habitat modeling studies have estimated approximately 10,875 golden 
conures within 174,000 km\2\ (67,182 mi\2\) of suitable habitat across 
a range of approximately 340,000 km\2\ (131,275 mi\2\) (Laranjeiras 
2011b, p. 311; Laranjeiras and Cohn-Haft 2009, pp. 1, 3). To date, the 
golden conure has been found in numerous protected areas or IBAs that 
have a total area of approximately 154,673 km\2\ (51,719 mi\2\) 
(Service 2018, pp. 68-70). However, not all of the area represented 
contains suitable habitat for the species, and several of the IBAs (39 
percent) presently have no protection (61,864 km\2\ (23,866 mi\2\)). An 
additional 26 percent of IBAs presently have just partial protection 
(40,582 km\2\ (15,669 mi\2\)) (Service 2018, pp. 68-70). Despite 
significant efforts to designate and establish protected areas, funding 
and resources are limited, and adequate enforcement of these areas is 
challenging.

Forest Code

    Brazil's forest code was created in 1965, and was subsequently 
changed in the 1990s via a series of presidential decrees (Soares-Filho 
et al. 2014, p. 363). As of 2001, the forest code required landowners 
in the Amazon to conserve native vegetation on their rural properties 
by setting aside what is called a ``legal reserve'' of 80 percent of 
their property (i.e., with 20 percent available to be harvested) 
(Soares-Filho et al. 2014, p. 363). The forest code severely restricted 
deforestation on private properties but proved challenging to enforce, 
and full compliance has not been achieved (GFA 2018b, unpaginated; 
Azevedo et al. 2017, entire; Soares-Filho et al. 2014, p. 363).
    In late 2012, a new forest code was approved that reduces 
restoration requirements by providing amnesty for previous illegal 
deforestation by smaller property holders (Soares-Filho et al. 2014, p. 
363). Under the older forest code, legal reserves that were illegally 
deforested were required to be restored at the landowner's expense. The 
new forest code forgives the legal reserve debt of small properties (up 
to 440 hectares (1,087 acres)) (Soares-Filho et al. 2014, p. 363). 
Although the 2012 forest code reduced the restoration requirements, it 
also introduced measures that strengthen conservation including 
addressing (1) fire management, (2) forest carbon emissions and 
storage, and (3) payments for ecosystem services that increase the 
economic activities compatible with conservation of natural resources 
(Soares-Filho et al. 2014, p. 364; GFA 2018h, unpaginated). 
Additionally, the new forest code created an ``environmental reserve 
quota,'' where quota surplus on one property may be used to offset a 
legal reserve debt on another property within the same biome; this 
could create a market for forested lands, adding monetary value to 
native vegetation and potentially abating up to 56 percent of legal 
reserve debt (Soares-Filho et al. 2014, p. 363).

Legal Captive Rearing and Trade

    IBAMA has licensed and regulated breeding of native bird species, 
including golden conure, in an effort to reduce poaching (Alves et al. 
2013, p. 61). The captive population of golden conures in Brazil is 
believed to be about 600 birds (Prioste et al. 2013, p. 146). 
Additional captive populations of golden conures exist as CITES-
registered captive-breeding operations in the United Kingdom and the 
Philippines. Although we have no further information on these programs, 
captive rearing in Brazil is believed to have reduced the incidence of 
poaching of young golden conures from the wild (Silveira in litt. 2012, 
Lees in litt. 2013, as cited in BLI 2016, p. 5).

Reintroduction

    We know of only one attempt to reintroduce the golden conure to an 
area where it had been extirpated. The species was extirpated from the 
Bel[eacute]m region of Par[aacute] in 1848 (Moura et al. 2014, p. 5). 
In 2017, reintroductions of golden conure were attempted in this area 
(at Utinga State Park in Bel[eacute]m) (globo.com 2018, unpaginated; 
Silveira in litt. 2018; Organization of Professional Aviculturists in 
litt. 2018). Of the 24 birds involved in the release program, three 
died prior to release, and

[[Page 22658]]

one died after release due to predation by a boa (Boa constrictor). 
There have been no reports of released conures being taken as pets, 
although it is a possibility in the future. Currently, seven of the 
released birds are living in close proximity to the release station, 
while another 13 birds have flown away from the release point. These 13 
birds are not currently under observation, but reports have indicated 
that they are living within the green areas of the city of 
Bel[eacute]m. One pair of golden conures has also successfully produced 
one offspring in an artificial nest box provided near the release 
station. This chick was successfully reared without human intervention 
and is living as a wild parrot along with its parents that have been 
seen feeding on native fruits. This is the first documented wild born 
golden conure in the Bel[eacute]m area in over 50 years. Even though 
this project is in the initial stages, its prospects are promising 
(Silveira in litt. 2018; Organization of Professional Aviculturists in 
litt. 2018).

Additional Conservation and Regulatory Mechanisms

    ``Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation'' 
(REDD) is a ``payment for ecological services'' initiative developed by 
the United Nations that creates a financial value for the carbon stored 
in forests (GFA 2018h, unpaginated). The program offers incentives to 
developing countries to reduce emissions from forested lands and invest 
in low-carbon paths to sustainable development (GFA 2018h, 
unpaginated). REDD plus (REDD+) goes one step further by including 
objectives for (1) biodiversity conservation, (2) sustainable 
management of forests, and (3) improvements to forest governance and 
local livelihoods (GFA 2018h, unpaginated). Brazil is one of the most 
advanced countries in the world in REDD+ planning and maintains an 
``Amazon Fund,'' which receives compensation for reductions in 
deforestation. To date, the Norwegian government is the major donor; 
lesser donors include the government of Germany and the Brazilian oil 
company Petrobras (GFA 2018h, unpaginated). The successful funding and 
implementation of REDD+ is expected to reduce rates of deforestation in 
Brazil's Amazon rainforest and would likely benefit the golden conure 
and its habitat. However, the initiative is in its early stages and is 
being hampered by numerous issues, particularly unresolved land-tenure 
problems (May et al. 2018, p. 44).
    The golden conure is protected under CITES, an international 
agreement between member governments to ensure that the international 
trade of CITES-listed plant and animal species is sustainable and does 
not threaten species' survival. Under this treaty, CITES Parties 
(member countries or signatories) regulate the import, export, and re-
export of specimens, parts, and products of CITES-listed plant and 
animal species. Brazil is a Party to CITES. Trade in CITES-listed 
plants and animals must be authorized through a licensing system of 
permits and certificates that are provided by the designated CITES 
Management Authority of each CITES Party. CITES includes three 
Appendices that list species meeting specific criteria. Depending on 
the Appendix in which they are listed, species are subject to various 
permitting requirements.
    The golden conure is included in CITES Appendix I and receives the 
highest degree of protection. Species listed in this Appendix are those 
that are threatened with extinction and which are, or may be, affected 
by trade. Commercial trade in Appendix I wildlife species is strictly 
prohibited, except in limited circumstances provided by the treaty. 
However, commercial international trade may be allowed in certain 
circumstances where animals have been produced by CITES-registered 
captive-breeding operations. Trade in specimens from registered 
operations may be treated as if they were listed in CITES Appendix II, 
although they remain Appendix I listed specimens. Each shipment 
requires the issuance of both CITES export and import documents. There 
are two CITES-registered captive-breeding operations for the golden 
conure: one in the United Kingdom and the other in the Philippines. The 
United States may also allow noncommercial trade in this species on a 
case-by-case basis for approved purposes such as scientific, 
zoological, and educational activities.
    Two other laws in the United States apart from the Act provide 
protection from the illegal import of wild-caught birds into the United 
States: the Wild Bird Conservation Act (WBCA; 16 U.S.C. 4901 et seq.) 
and the Lacey Act (18 U.S.C. 42; 16 U.S.C. 3371 et seq.). The WBCA was 
enacted in 1992, to ensure that exotic bird species are not harmed by 
international trade and to encourage wild bird conservation programs in 
countries of origin. Under the WBCA and our implementing regulations 
(50 CFR 15.11), it is unlawful to import into the United States any 
exotic bird species listed under CITES that is not included in the 
approved list of species, except under certain circumstances. We may 
issue permits to allow import of listed birds for scientific research, 
zoological breeding or display, cooperative breeding, or personal pet 
purposes when the applicant meets certain criteria (50 CFR 15.22-
15.25).
    The Lacey Act was originally passed in 1900, and was the first 
Federal law protecting wildlife. Today, it provides civil and criminal 
penalties for the illegal trade of animals and plants. Under the Lacey 
Act, in part, it is unlawful to (1) import, export, transport, sell, 
receive, acquire, or purchase any fish, or wildlife taken, possessed, 
transported, or sold in violation of any law, treaty, or regulation of 
the United States or in violation of any Indian tribal law; or (2) 
import, export, transport, sell, receive, acquire, or purchase in 
interstate or foreign commerce any fish or wildlife taken, possessed, 
transported, or sold in violation of any law or regulation of any State 
or in violation of any foreign law. Therefore, because the take of 
wild-caught golden conures would be in violation of Brazil's wildlife 
law, the subsequent import of the species would be in violation of the 
Lacey Act. Similarly, under the Lacey Act, it is unlawful to import, 
export, transport, sell, receive, acquire, or purchase specimens of 
these species traded contrary to CITES.

Summary of Comments and Responses

SSA Report

    In accordance with our joint policy on peer review published in the 
Federal Register on July 1, 1994 (59 FR 34270), and our August 22, 
2016, memorandum updating and clarifying the role of peer review of 
listing actions under the Act, we sought the expert opinions of five 
appropriate specialists regarding the SSA report that informed our 
proposed rule, and we received responses from four of the five peer 
reviewers. We also invited any additional comments from the peer 
reviewers on the proposed rule during its public comment period. The 
purpose of peer review is to ensure that our reclassification 
determination is based on scientifically sound data, assumptions, and 
analyses. All substantive information from the peer review was fully 
considered and incorporated into this final rule, where appropriate. 
The peer reviewers' comments and suggestions are available at https://www.fws.gov/endangered/improving_ESA/peer_review_process.html.

Proposed Rule

    The public comment period for our September 5, 2018, proposed rule 
(83

[[Page 22659]]

FR 45073) lasted for 60 days, ending November 5, 2018. During that 
comment period, we received 31 comments on our proposed rule to 
downlist the golden conure. The majority of the comments support 
downlisting the golden conure from endangered to threatened with a 4(d) 
rule to allow import/export and interstate commerce of certain golden 
conures. Additionally, commenters provided updated information 
regarding the golden conure reintroduction program occurring in the 
Bel[eacute]m region of Par[aacute] at Utinga State Park. We have 
incorporated this information under Conservation Measures and 
Regulatory Mechanisms, above, and have updated the SSA report. Other 
comments are discussed below by topic.
    Comment (1): Many commenters state that the 4(d) rule will help 
improve the breeding pool because allowing interstate commerce of 
golden conures will develop more diverse genes and blood lines. Thus, 
the continued breeding of the species in the United States can provide 
a safety reservoir of individuals for reintroduction if needed.
    Our Response: While we agree with the commenters that interstate 
commerce of golden conures could allow the development of more diverse 
genes and blood lines, we do not believe that captive-bred golden 
conures in the United States as pets are good candidates for 
reintroduction into the wild. Golden conures bred as pets would likely 
be socialized with humans and in turn fail to act appropriately with 
wild individuals when released. In addition, golden conures held as 
pets may pose a disease risk to wild populations.
    Comment (2): A few commenters disagreed with the proposed 
downlisting because they claim that we underestimate the effect of 
deforestation and increased human population growth within the range of 
the golden conure. Therefore, they state that the golden conure should 
not be downlisted to threatened because the species remains in danger 
of extinction due to deforestation.
    Our Response: Our analysis of the stressors to the golden conure as 
discussed in the SSA report (Service 2018, pp. 25-35) and summarized 
here and in the proposed rule includes the contribution of an 
increasing human population and how it impacts the species through 
habitat degradation and fragmentation. While we agree the golden conure 
faces significant risk from loss and degradation of its habitat from 
deforestation in the foreseeable future, because the golden conure is 
more widespread than previously thought and near-term threats to the 
species have been reduced, we do not find the species is presently in 
danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its 
range. Thus, it does not meet the definition of an ``endangered 
species'' under the Act.
    Drivers of habitat degradation and deforestation include roads; 
human settlement; logging; and agricultural expansion for soy 
cultivation, cattle ranching, and palm oil production (an emerging 
threat). Additionally, infrastructure projects such as hydroelectric 
dams and mining operations are growing sources of deforestation that 
also contribute to loss of forest habitat in the range of the conure. 
Based on the best available scientific studies and information 
assessing land-use trends (including deforestation, lack of enforcement 
of laws, predicted landscape changes under climate-change scenarios, 
and predictions about the impact of those threats), we conclude that 
the golden conure is likely to be in danger of extinction in the 
foreseeable future throughout its range and meets the definition of a 
``threatened species'' under the Act.
    Comment (3): One commenter stated that downlisting the golden 
conure to threatened will provide the species with less protection than 
if it was listed as endangered.
    Our Response: We must make our determination on whether the species 
is endangered or threatened based solely on the best available 
scientific and commercial data available. If a species is determined to 
be an endangered species, the Act extends certain prohibitions to the 
species pursuant to section 9. If the species is listed as threatened, 
we may develop a rule pursuant to 4(d) to provide for its conservation.
    The golden conure is more widespread than previously thought, and 
threats to the species have been reduced to the point that it is no 
longer in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion 
of its range. Our analysis also assessed the biological status of the 
golden conure in light of the broad protections provided to the species 
under CITES and the WBCA. We determined that the golden conure meets 
the definition of a ``threatened species'' under the Act. A threatened 
species is likely to become endangered throughout all or a significant 
portion of its range within the foreseeable future. Section 4(d) of the 
Act states that the ``Secretary shall issue such regulations as he 
deems necessary and advisable to provide for the conservation'' of 
species listed as threatened. Therefore, we include the golden conure 
in the 4(d) rule for birds at 50 CFR 17.41(c) to address the golden 
conure's specific threats and conservation needs, which will promote 
conservation of the golden conure. We find that this 4(d) rule contains 
all the prohibitions and authorizations necessary and advisable for the 
conservation of the species.
    We acknowledge that we do not have authority to directly regulate 
activities in a foreign country that may cause the golden conure to be 
an endangered species or a threatened species. However, conservation 
measures or benefits provided to foreign species listed as endangered 
or threatened under the Act include recognition, requirements for 
Federal protection, and prohibitions against certain practices. 
Recognition through listing results in public awareness, and may 
encourage and result in conservation actions by foreign governments, 
Federal and State governments, private agencies and interest groups, 
and individuals.
    Comment (4): Some commenters stated that Bird Life International 
(BLI) has downlisted the species from ``endangered'' to ``vulnerable'' 
because the estimated population is 10,000 to 19,999 individuals. The 
commenters state that BLI is a recognized authority, and their 
recommendations should be taken as ``best scientific evidence.''
    Our Response: We determined that the best available information 
indicates the current wild population of the golden conure is about 
10,875 individuals (Laranjeiras 2011b, p. 311). Birdlife 
International's population estimate is 6,600-13,400 individuals (BLI 
2019, unpaginated). We note that this estimate is within the range of 
the range of individuals cited by BLI.
    The decision to list a species under the Act is based on whether 
the species meets the definition of an endangered species or a 
threatened species as defined under section 3 of the Act, considering 
the factors set forth in section 4(a)(1) of the Act, and is made solely 
on the basis of the best scientific and commercial data available. BLI 
uses different standards and criteria to assign its status 
designations; therefore, a determination of status under the Act is not 
interchangeable with a BLI designation. Using the best scientific and 
commercial data available, as summarized in this rule, we find that the 
golden conure meets the definition of a ``threatened species'' under 
the Act.

Determination of Golden Conure Status

    Section 4 of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1533) and its implementing 
regulations (50 CFR part 424) set forth the procedures for determining 
whether a species meets

[[Page 22660]]

the definition of ``endangered species'' or ``threatened species.'' The 
Act defines an ``endangered species'' as a species that is ``in danger 
of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range,'' 
and a ``threatened species'' as a species that is ``likely to become an 
endangered species within the foreseeable future throughout all or a 
significant portion of its range.'' The Act requires that we determine 
whether a species meets the definition of ``endangered species'' or 
``threatened species'' because of any of the following factors: (A) The 
present or threatened destruction, modification, or curtailment of its 
habitat or range; (B) Overutilization for commercial, recreational, 
scientific, or educational purposes; (C) Disease or predation; (D) The 
inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms; or (E) Other natural or 
manmade factors affecting its continued existence.

Status Throughout All of Its Range

    After evaluating threats to the golden conure and assessing the 
cumulative effect of the threats under the section 4(a)(1) factors, we 
reviewed the status of the golden conure and assessed the five factors 
to evaluate whether the species is endangered or threatened throughout 
all of its range. We examined the best scientific and commercial 
information available regarding the past, present, and future threats 
faced by the golden conure. We reviewed information presented in the 
August 21, 2014, petition we received from the American Federation of 
Aviculture, Inc.; information available in our files; information 
gathered through our 90-day finding in response to the petition; 
information gathered in the SSA report; information from public 
comments on our September 5, 2018, proposed rule (83 FR 45073); and 
other available published and unpublished information.
    When we listed the golden conure as endangered (41 FR 24062; June 
14, 1976), the species was perceived to be declining in numbers due to 
either Factor A, Factor B, or Factor D, or a combination of all three 
factors. At present, while we consider deforestation and habitat 
degradation to be a significant risk to the golden conure in the 
future, the best scientific and commercial information available on the 
range and abundance of the species indicates that the species is more 
widespread and abundant than previously believed and that the threat 
from overutilization for the pet trade (Factor B) has diminished 
(Silveira in litt. 2012, Lees in litt. 2013, in BLI 2016, p. 5; Snyder 
et al. 2000, p. 99).
    Approximately 10,875 golden conures occur within 174,000 km\2\ 
(67,182 mi\2\) of suitable habitat across a range of approximately 
340,000 km\2\ (131,275 mi\2\) (Laranjeiras 2011b, p. 311; Laranjeiras 
and Cohn-Haft 2009, pp. 1, 3). Tighter enforcement of CITES, stricter 
European Union legislation, adoption of the WBCA in the United States, 
and adoption of national legislation in other countries have all helped 
to significantly curtail illegal international trade (Snyder et al. 
2000, p. 99). Government-authorized captive breeding programs in Brazil 
are thought to have curtailed the illegal domestic trade (Silveira in 
litt. 2012, Lees in litt. 2013, in BLI 2016, p. 5). Thus, after 
assessing the best available information, we conclude the golden conure 
is not currently in danger of extinction throughout its range.
    We next considered whether the golden conure is likely to become in 
danger of extinction throughout its range within the foreseeable 
future. Our proposed rule described ``foreseeable future'' as the 
extent to which we can reasonably rely on predictions about the future 
in making determinations about the future conservation status of the 
species. The Service since codified its understanding of foreseeable 
future in 50 CFR 424.11(d) (84 FR 45020; August 27, 2019).
    In those regulations, we explain the term ``foreseeable future'' 
extends only so far into the future as the Service can reasonably 
determine that both the future threats and the species' responses to 
those threats are likely. The Service will describe the foreseeable 
future on a case-by-case basis, using the best available data and 
taking into account considerations such as the species' life-history 
characteristics, threat-projection timeframes, and environmental 
variability. The Service need not identify the foreseeable future in 
terms of a specific period of time. These regulations did not 
significantly modify the Service's interpretation; rather they codified 
a framework that sets forth how the Service will determine what 
constitutes the foreseeable future based on our long-standing practice. 
Accordingly, though these regulations do not apply to the final rule 
for the golden conure since it was proposed prior to their effective 
date, they do not change the Service's assessment of foreseeable future 
for the golden conure as contained in our proposed rule.
    The golden conure has already lost 30 to 35 percent of its 
historical range (Laranjeiras 2011a, unpaginated; Laranjeiras and Cohn-
Haft 2009, p. 8). We expect both the species' global population and its 
habitat to decline an additional 23 to 30 percent in 22 years (Service 
2018, pp. 42-46; Bird et al. 2011, appendix S1).
    Additionally, habitat loss and degradation is likely to be 
intensified by synergistic effects associated with the consequences of 
climate change (Service 2018, pp. 42-46; Staal et al. 2015, p. 2). 
There is a strong likelihood of warming by at least 1.5 to 2.0 [deg]C 
(2.7 to 3.6 [deg]F) in Latin America by the end of the century 
(Carabine and Lemma 2014, p. 8), and downscaled estimates for the 
Amazon over the same time period (i.e., by the end of the century) 
indicate temperature increases of 2.2 [deg]C (4 [deg]F) under a low 
greenhouse gas emission scenario, SRES B1 that equates to RCP 4.5, and 
4.5 [deg]C (8 [deg]F) under a high-emission scenario, SRES A2 that 
equates to RCP 8.5 (Marengo et al. 2011, p. 27). Increased temperatures 
of these amounts put the Amazon region at a high risk of forest loss 
and more frequent wildfires (Magrin et al. 2007, p. 596). Downscaled 
models, based in part, on the earlier (2007) IPCC data, predict severe 
changes (increased warming and drying) over the Amazon rainforest, 
particularly after 2040 (Marengo et al. 2011, pp. 8, 15, 27, 39, 48; 
F[eacute]res et al. 2009, p. 2). Additionally, extreme weather events, 
such as droughts, will increase in frequency, with drought becoming a 
9-in-10-year event, by 2060 (Marengo et al. 2011, p. 28), further 
contributing to deforestation due to more risk from fires (Marengo et 
al. 2011, p. 16).
    Based on the best available data, we assessed foreseeable future to 
be 22 to 42 years (or approximately three to six generations of the 
golden conure). We based the lower end of this range (22 years) on the 
peer-reviewed work by Bird et al. 2011, relating to deforestation and 
declines in the population. We based the upper end of this range (42 
years) on peer-reviewed studies predicting effects from climate change 
(such as drought) on deforestation after about 2040 to 2060 (Marengo et 
al. 2011, pp. 8, 15, 27, 28, 39, 48; F[eacute]res et al. 2009, p. 2). 
We conclude that it is reasonable to rely on the predictions made in 
these peer-reviewed studies to determine both the future threats and 
the species' response to these threats in making determinations about 
the foreseeable future of the golden conure.
    Although the golden conure is now known to be more widespread and 
abundant than previously thought, the species occurs only within the 
southern basin of Brazil's Amazon. Much of this area is in the ``arc of 
deforestation'' and is threatened by loss and degradation of its 
rainforest habitat from deforestation. Effects from deforestation are

[[Page 22661]]

exacerbated by the projected effects from climate change. Additionally, 
even though government-authorized captive breeding programs in Brazil 
are thought to have curtailed the illegal domestic trade, some unknown 
level of illegal collection and trade is ongoing, particularly within 
Brazil (Silveira and Belmonte in press, unpaginated).
    Existing regulatory mechanisms and conservation efforts do not 
currently adequately ameliorate threats to the golden conure (Factor 
D). Although the species is no longer in danger of extinction now, the 
factors identified above continue to affect the golden conure such that 
it is likely to become in danger of extinction within the foreseeable 
future throughout all of its range. Based on the best available 
scientific studies and information assessing land-use trends, adequacy 
of enforcement of laws, predicted landscape changes under climate-
change scenarios, and predictions about how those threats may impact 
the golden conure, we conclude that the species is likely to be in 
danger of extinction within the foreseeable future throughout all of 
its range.
    Thus, after assessing the best available information, we conclude 
the golden conure is not currently in danger of extinction, but is 
likely to become in danger of extinction within the foreseeable future 
throughout all of its range.

Status Throughout a Significant Portion of Its Range

    Having determined that the golden conure is likely to become an 
endangered species within the foreseeable future throughout all of its 
range, we now consider whether it may be in danger of extinction in a 
significant portion of its range. The range of a species can 
theoretically be divided into portions in an infinite number of ways, 
so we first screen the potential portions of the species' range to 
determine if there are any portions that warrant further consideration. 
To do the ``screening'' analysis, we ask whether there are portions of 
the species' range for which there is substantial information 
indicating that: (1) The portion may be significant; and (2) the 
species may be, in that portion, in danger of extinction. For a 
particular portion, if we cannot answer both questions in the 
affirmative, then that portion does not warrant further consideration 
and the species does not warrant listing as endangered because of its 
status in that portion of its range. We emphasize that answering these 
questions in the affirmative is not a determination that the species is 
in danger of extinction throughout a significant portion of its range--
rather, it is a step in determining whether a more detailed analysis of 
the issue is required.
    If we answer these questions in the affirmative, we then conduct a 
more thorough analysis to determine whether the portion does indeed 
meet both of the ``significant portion of its range'' prongs: (1) The 
portion is significant and (2) the species is, in that portion, in 
danger of extinction. Confirmation that a portion does indeed meet one 
of these prongs does not create a presumption, prejudgment, or other 
determination as to whether the species is an endangered species. 
Rather, we must then undertake a more detailed analysis of the other 
prong to make that determination. Only if the portion does indeed meet 
both prongs would the species warrant listing as endangered because of 
its status in a significant portion of its range
    At both stages in this process--the stage of screening potential 
portions to identify any portions that warrant further consideration 
and the stage of undertaking the more detailed analysis of any portions 
that do warrant further consideration--it might be more efficient for 
us to address the ``significance'' question or the ``status'' question 
first. Our selection of which question to address first for a 
particular portion depends on the biology of the species, its range, 
and the threats it faces. Regardless of which question we address 
first, if we reach a negative answer with respect to the first question 
that we address, we do not need to evaluate the second question for 
that portion of the species' range.
    For golden conure, we chose to evaluate the status question (i.e., 
identifying portions where the golden conure may be in danger of 
extinction) first. To conduct this screening, we considered whether the 
threats are geographically concentrated in any portion of the species' 
range at a biologically meaningful scale. We examined the following 
threats: Habitat loss; illegal collection and trade; climate change; 
and other stressors of hunting, persecution, and predation; and 
including cumulative effects. We found no concentration of threats in 
any portion of the golden conures' range at a biologically meaningful 
scale. For the golden conure, we found both: The species is not in 
danger of extinction throughout all of its range, and there is no 
geographical concentration of threats so the threats to the species are 
essentially uniform throughout its range. The ``arc of deforestation'' 
is a hotspot of deforestation in the Amazon and the golden conure's 
range partially overlaps this area. However, deforestation caused by 
fires, ranching, and agriculture occurs in many parts of the Amazon and 
in the conure's range outside of the ``arc of deforestation.''
    If both (1) a species is not in danger of extinction throughout all 
of its range and (2) the threats to the species are essentially uniform 
throughout its range, then the species could not be in danger of 
extinction in any biologically meaningful portion of its range. 
Therefore, we conclude, based on this screening analysis, that no 
portions warrant further consideration through a more detailed 
analysis, and the species is not in danger of extinction in any 
significant portion of its range. Our approach to analyzing significant 
portions of the species' range in this determination is consistent with 
the courts' holdings in Desert Survivors v. Department of the Interior, 
No. 16-cv-01165-JCS, 2018 WL 4053447 (N.D. Cal. Aug. 24, 2018); Center 
for Biological Diversity v. Jewell, 248 F. Supp. 3d, 946, 959 (D. Ariz. 
2017); and Center for Biological Diversity v. Everson, 2020 WL 437289 
(D.D.C. Jan. 28, 2020).

Determination of Status

    Our review of the best available scientific and commercial 
information indicates that the golden conure meets the definition of a 
threatened species. Therefore, we are listing the golden conure as a 
threatened species in accordance with sections 3(20) and 4(a)(1) of the 
Act.

4(d) Rule

    When a species is listed as endangered, certain actions are 
prohibited under section 9 of the Act and our regulations at 50 CFR 
17.21. These include, among others, prohibitions on take within the 
United States, within the territorial seas of the United States, or 
upon the high seas; import; export; and shipment in interstate or 
foreign commerce in the course of a commercial activity. Exceptions to 
the prohibitions for endangered species may be granted in accordance 
with section 10 of the Act and our regulations at 50 CFR 17.22.
    The Act does not specify particular prohibitions and exceptions to 
those prohibitions for threatened species. Instead, under section 4(d) 
of the Act, the Secretary of the Interior, as well as the Secretary of 
Commerce depending on the species, was given the discretion to issue 
such regulations as deemed necessary and advisable to provide for the 
conservation of such species. The Secretary also has the discretion to 
prohibit by regulation with respect to any threatened species any act

[[Page 22662]]

prohibited under section 9(a)(1) of the Act. For the golden conure, the 
Service is exercising our discretion to issue a rule under section 4(d) 
of the Act by extending the regulations at 50 CFR 17.41(c) that provide 
for the conservation of certain species in the parrot family to the 
golden conure. These provisions generally extend the prohibitions 
included in 50 CFR 17.21, except 50 CFR 17.21(c)(5) and as provided in 
subpart A of part 17, or in a permit. Further, the import and export of 
certain golden conures into and from the United States and certain acts 
in interstate commerce will be allowed without a permit under the Act, 
as explained below.

Import and Export

    The 4(d) rule imposes a prohibition on imports and exports, but 
creates exceptions for certain golden conures. Shipments of captive 
specimens (i.e., not taken from the wild) may include live and dead 
golden conures and parts and products, including the import and export 
of personal pets and research samples. The 4(d) rule adopts the 
existing conservation regulatory requirements of CITES and the WBCA as 
the appropriate regulatory provisions for the import and export of 
these golden conure specimens.
    This 4(d) rule allows a person to import or export, into and from 
the United States, captive specimens, without a permit issued under the 
Act, provided that the export is authorized under CITES and the import 
is authorized under CITES and the WBCA. The import would require a 
CITES document issued by the foreign Management Authority indicating a 
source code of ``C'', ``D'', or ``F.'' Exporters of captive birds would 
need to provide a signed and dated statement from the breeder of the 
bird, along with documentation that identifies the source of their 
breeding stock in order to obtain a CITES export permit from the U.S. 
Fish and Wildlife Service's Division of Management Authority. Exporters 
of captive-bred birds must provide a signed and dated statement from 
the breeder of the bird confirming its captive-bred status, and 
documentation on the source of the breeder's breeding stock. The source 
codes of C, D, and F for CITES permits and certificates are as follows:
     Source Code C: Animals bred in captivity in accordance 
with Resolution Conf. 10.16 (Rev.), as well as parts and derivatives 
thereof, exported under the provisions of Article VII, paragraph 5 of 
the Convention.
     Source Code D: Appendix I animals bred in captivity for 
commercial purposes in operations included in the Secretariat's 
Register, in accordance with Resolution Conf. 12.10 (Rev. CoP15), and 
Appendix I plants artificially propagated for commercial purposes, as 
well as parts and derivatives thereof, exported under the provisions of 
Article VII, paragraph 4, of the Convention.
     Source Code F: Animals born in captivity (F1 or subsequent 
generations) that do not fulfill the definition of ``bred in 
captivity'' in Resolution Conf. 10.16 (Rev.), as well as parts and 
derivatives thereof.
    The 4(d) rule does not allow any U.S. import or export of golden 
conures that are taken from the wild; such birds would continue to need 
a permit under the Act, with the following exception: A person may 
import or export a wild golden conure specimen if the specimen was held 
in captivity prior to the date the species was listed in CITES Appendix 
I (i.e., prior to the date that CITES entered into force on July 1, 
1975, with ``golden parakeet'' (i.e., the golden conure) listed in 
Appendix I) and provided that the specimen meets all the requirements 
of CITES and WBCA. If a specimen was taken from the wild and held in 
captivity prior to that date (July 1, 1975), the exporter will need to 
provide documentation as part of the application for a U.S. CITES 
preconvention certificate. Examples of documentation may include: (1) A 
copy of the original CITES permit indicating when the bird was removed 
from the wild, (2) veterinary records, or (3) museum specimen reports. 
Additionally, consistent with the 4(d) rule for other species in the 
parrot family at 50 CFR 17.41(c), the prohibitions on take will apply 
and the 4(d) rule will require a permit under the Act for any activity 
that could take a golden conure. Our regulations at 50 CFR 17.3 
establish that take, when applied to captive wildlife, does not include 
generally accepted animal husbandry practices, breeding procedures, or 
provisions of veterinary care for confining, tranquilizing, or 
anesthetizing, when such practices are not likely to result in injury 
to the wildlife.
    We assessed the conservation needs of the golden conure in light of 
the broad protections provided to the species under CITES and the WBCA. 
As noted above in Summary of Factors Affecting the Species, some level 
of poaching for illegal trade of golden conures is occurring within 
Brazil (Silveira and Belmonte in press, unpaginated), but there is 
little evidence that this practice occurs at the international level 
(Laranjeiras 2011a, unpaginated; Silveira and Belmonte in press, 
unpaginated). The best available commercial data indicate that tighter 
enforcement of CITES, stricter European Union legislation, adoption of 
the WBCA in the United States, and adoption of national legislation in 
other countries have all helped to significantly curtail illegal 
international trade (Snyder et al. 2000, p. 99). Therefore, illegal 
international trade is not likely to be occurring at levels that 
negatively affect the golden conure population. Additionally, legal 
international trade of the species is not currently occurring at levels 
that affect the golden conure population. Therefore, we find that the 
import and export requirements of the 4(d) rule provide the necessary 
and advisable conservation measures that are needed for this species. 
This 4(d) rule will streamline the permitting process for these types 
of activities by deferring to existing laws that are protective of 
golden conures in the course of import and export.

Interstate Commerce

    Under the 4(d) rule, except where use after import is restricted 
under 50 CFR 23.55, a person may deliver, receive, carry, transport, or 
ship a golden conure in interstate commerce in the course of a 
commercial activity, or sell or offer to sell in interstate commerce a 
golden conure without a permit under the Act. At the same time, the 
prohibitions on take under 50 CFR 17.21 apply under this 4(d) rule, and 
any interstate commerce activities that could incidentally take golden 
conure or otherwise constitute prohibited acts in foreign commerce 
require a permit under 50 CFR 17.32.
    Between 1981 and 2016, persons within the United States imported 54 
golden conures and exported 26; all were reported as live captive-bred 
birds except two exported birds that originated from an unknown source 
and one imported bird seized upon import (UNEP-WCMC 2018, unpaginated; 
Service 2018, p. 33). These imports and exports were made for 
commercial, captive-breeding, zoological, and personal purposes (UNEP-
WCMC 2018, unpaginated; Service 2018, p. 33). We have no information to 
indicate that interstate commerce activities in the United States are 
associated with threats to the golden conure or would negatively affect 
any efforts aimed at the recovery of wild populations of the species. 
Therefore, because (1) acts in interstate commerce within the United 
States have not been found to threaten the golden conure, (2) the 
species is otherwise protected in the course of

[[Page 22663]]

interstate and foreign commercial activities under the take provisions 
as extended through 50 CFR 17.41(c), and (3) international trade of 
this species appears to be effectively regulated under CITES, we find 
the 4(d) rule contains all the prohibitions and authorizations 
necessary and advisable for the conservation of the golden conure.

Technical Correction

    50 CFR 17.11(c) and 17.12(b) direct us to use the most recently 
accepted scientific name of any wildlife or plant species, 
respectively, that we have determined to be an endangered or threatened 
species. The golden conure currently appears on the List as the 
``golden parakeet'' (Aratinga guarouba). Both ``golden conure'' and 
``golden parakeet'' are common names associated with Guaruba guarouba. 
However, we find that the best available scientific information 
available supports the designation of the golden conure to its own 
genus (Guaruba). Therefore, we are updating the List to reflect this 
change in the scientific name for golden conure.
    The basis for this taxonomic change is supported by published 
studies in peer-reviewed journals (e.g., Urant[oacute]wka and 
Mackiewicz 2017, entire; Tavares et al. 2004, pp. 230, 236-237, 239; 
Sick 1990, p. 112). Accordingly, we are correcting the scientific name 
of the species under section 4 of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) by 
changing the name as currently listed (i.e., golden parakeet (Aratinga 
guarouba)) to the corrected species name (i.e., golden conure or golden 
parakeet (Guaruba guarouba)).

Required Determinations

National Environmental Policy Act (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.)

    We have determined that we do not need to prepare an environmental 
assessment, as defined under the authority of the National 
Environmental Policy Act of 1969, in connection with regulations 
adopted under section 4(a) of the Endangered Species Act. We published 
a notice outlining our reasons for this determination in the Federal 
Register on October 25, 1983 (48 FR 49244).

References Cited

    A complete list of references cited in this rulemaking is available 
on the internet at http://www.regulations.gov under Docket No. FWS-HQ-
ES-2015-0019 or upon request (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT).

Authors

    The primary authors of this final rule are the staff members of the 
Branch of Delisting and Foreign Species, Ecological Services Program, 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 17

    Endangered and threatened species, Exports, Imports, Reporting and 
recordkeeping requirements, Transportation.

Regulation Promulgation

    Accordingly, we amend part 17, subchapter B of chapter I, title 50 
of the Code of Federal Regulations, as set forth below:

PART 17--ENDANGERED AND THREATENED WILDLIFE AND PLANTS

0
 1. The authority citation for part 17 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1361-1407; 1531-1544; and 4201-4245, unless 
otherwise noted.


0
2. Amend Sec.  17.11(h), in the List of Endangered and Threatened 
Wildlife under BIRDS, by:
0
a. Adding an entry for ``Conure, golden (=golden parakeet)'' in 
alphabetical order; and
0
b. Removing the entry for ``Parakeet, golden''.
    The addition reads as follows:


Sec.  17.11  Endangered and threatened wildlife.

* * * * *
    (h) * * *

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                          Listing citations and
           Common name              Scientific name      Where listed         Status         applicable rules
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
                                                  * * * * * * *
              Birds
 
                                                  * * * * * * *
Conure, golden, (=golden          Guaruba guarouba..  Wherever found....  T              41 FR 24062, 6/14/1976;
 parakeet).                                                                               85 FR [Insert Federal
                                                                                          Register page where
                                                                                          the document begins],
                                                                                          4/23/2020; 50 CFR
                                                                                          17.41(c).\4d\
 
                                                  * * * * * * *
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


0
3. Amend Sec.  17.41 by revising paragraphs (c) introductory text and 
(c)(2)(ii) introductory text and adding paragraph (c)(2)(ii)(F) to read 
as follows:


Sec.  17.41  Special rules--birds.

* * * * *
    (c) The following species in the parrot family: Salmon-crested 
cockatoo (Cacatua moluccensis), yellow-billed parrot (Amazona 
collaria), white cockatoo (Cacatua alba), hyacinth macaw (Anodorhynchus 
hyacinthinus), scarlet macaw (Ara macao macao and scarlet macaw 
subspecies crosses (Ara macao macao and Ara macao cyanoptera)), and 
golden conure (Guaruba guarouba).
* * * * *
    (2) * * *
    (ii) Specimens held in captivity prior to certain dates: You must 
provide documentation to demonstrate that the specimen was held in 
captivity prior to the applicable date specified in paragraph 
(c)(2)(ii)(A), (B), (C), (D), (E), or (F) of this section. Such 
documentation may include copies of receipts, accession or veterinary 
records, CITES documents, or wildlife declaration forms, which must be 
dated prior to the specified dates.
* * * * *
    (F) For golden conures: July 1, 1975 (the date CITES entered into 
force with the ``golden parakeet'' (i.e., the golden conure) listed in 
Appendix I of the Convention).
* * * * *

Aurelia Skipwith,
Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 2020-07571 Filed 4-22-20; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4333-15-P