Injurious Wildlife Species; Listing Salamanders Due to Risk of Salamander Chytrid Fungus
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is amending its regulations under the Lacey Act to add all species of salamanders from 20 genera, of which there are 201 species, to the list of injurious amphibians. With this interim rule, both importation into the United States and interstate transportation between States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or any territory or possession of the United States of any live or dead specimen, including parts, of these 20 genera of salamanders are prohibited, except by permit for zoological, educational, medical, or scientific purposes (in accordance with permit conditions) or by Federal agencies without a permit solely for their own use. This action is necessary to protect the interests of wildlife and wildlife resources from the introduction, establishment, and spread of the chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans into ecosystems of the United States. The fungus affects salamanders, with lethal effects on many species, and is not yet known to be found in the United States. Because of the devastating effect that we expect the fungus will have on native U.S. salamanders if introduced and, therefore, the need to act immediately to prevent the disease from being introduced into the United States, the Service is publishing this interim rule.