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An issue that makes me think
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Author:  Jordi [ Thu Oct 29, 2009 12:20 pm ]
Post subject:  An issue that makes me think

In Spain and other countries there have benn problems with T.scripta elegans infesting rivers and ponds and competing with the native emys and mauremys. to the point of forbidding the sale of this species. Dealers went straight to other sliders that adapt as well as T.s. to our climate.
I think they have even found Pelomedusa subrufa in southern Spain (not sure, I think I have read somewhere)
Most of those animals are not scaped but given "freedom" for people who are fed up with the huge, sometimes agressive terrapin that gets the water dirty and smelly.
In Catalonia, where I live, you can´t posses any T.hermanni, and untill recently, neither T.graeca. I suppose this is because of the risc of mixing subspecies (T.hermanni hermanni is native in some parts of Catalonia and there are reintroducing programs) and the risc of spreading illnesses of captive animals. The problem is that this conveys that people have animals of other countries, which also can scape with even greater illness dangers for wild populations.
I myself keep species that adapt quite well to our climate. This is because it allows me to maintain them in outdoor ponds or pens, with all the advantages that this has. But I can´t avoid thinking what would happen if those species became more common as pets. The same as with trachemys? What would be the solution, let us keep only the native subspecies? Or only letting us posses species that cannot adapt? I don´t know...

Jordi
Author:  Tortoise Trust [ Thu Oct 29, 2009 1:26 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: An issue that makes me think

Jordi,

One issue is that in a Mediterranean climate, many, many reptiles will do very well. It is rather like Florida - a very good reptile habitat in general. So - what is the solution? Ban everyone from keeping all reptiles? There are problems with that:

1) It does not work. People will keep them anyway - and just go "underground".
2) It does not encourage interest in the conservation of reptiles by banning them. It has the opposite effect.

I would suggest that the best approach is to combine education with sensible rules and laws. Rules that are stupid and unenforceable are counter-productive and have no useful effect. What you need are rules that make sense, are logical, and which have broad support. I think most of us would agree that keeping alligators, lions, tigers or venomous snakes does need regulating (I would not necessarily say banning - but you do need good security and you should be licensed). There can be valid reasons for having animals like that.

With Red-eared sliders there are two people to blame: the pet trade for importing them and ignorant people who do not understand them for buying them. I would be in agreement with a ban on the commercial importation of species that are a problem, but I do not think a total ban makes any sense at all. Knowledgeable herpetologists are not the problem. The problem comes from greed and ignorance.

Andy
Author:  Jordi [ Thu Oct 29, 2009 1:41 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: An issue that makes me think

Tortoise Trust wrote:1) It does not work. People will keep them anyway - and just go "underground".


This is what is happening with T.hermanni. Many people have it illegaly in Catalonia. I am not convinced that banning them is the solution, though I understand the reasons for it.
I wonder if in the native area of T.hermanni boettgeri there a similar laws or there are problems with mixing of hermanni subspecies.
Another problem that I see it that it is easier to ban than to educate.

Jordi
Author:  Jordi [ Thu Oct 29, 2009 1:45 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: An issue that makes me think

Tortoise Trust wrote:2) It does not encourage interest in the conservation of reptiles by banning them. It has the opposite effect


You made me think of a particular species of parrot wich was in danger of extintion somewhere in Central/South America. It wasn´t very beatifull but somehow the managed to make of it a national symbol, so that all the population knew of it and the problems it had. It worked very well. It was not well seen to destroy its habitat or sell it.

Jordi
Author:  Eversfield [ Thu Oct 29, 2009 4:29 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: An issue that makes me think

I agree with Andy, the important message is EDUCATION. However, in the case of the Slider Terrapin (Trachemys spp),
the starting point is "Kindergarden". For so many, these delightful little hatchling Terrapins are just muses purchased on an impulse and passed over in a short period as a nuisance!
Author:  suej [ Thu Oct 29, 2009 5:17 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: An issue that makes me think

perhaps if import limits were lowered, the number available would go down, the price would go up and the £20 impulse buy turned into the £100, think about price, the problem may start to take care of itself.
But heres a thought, what about every chelonian sold has a tax on it that goes into a fund to care for abandoned turtles and tortoises.
Or
A returnable deposit, if you dont want it anymore you take it back to where you got it and they give you the deposit back, some shops might stop selling altogether
Author:  Jordi [ Thu Oct 29, 2009 5:34 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: An issue that makes me think

[quote="suej"]But heres a thought, what about every chelonian sold has a tax on it that goes into a fund to care for abandoned turtles and tortoises.

The tax for sales is not a bad thing. But I don´t think the idea of returnable animals has a future ;)

Tortoise breeding is more a hobby than a business for particular keepers. Sometimes it is an expensive hobby if you want to do things well, so I don´t see bad selling animals. But, in the line of what Sue has said, part of the prize could be for some conservacionist fund, just as a little pay for the harm this hobby has done in many wild populations.

Jordi
Author:  suej [ Thu Oct 29, 2009 6:07 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: An issue that makes me think

maybe the tax could be on the animals imported, then captive bred locals would not be penalised, the genuine enthusiast would not have the burden, but the importers and traders might have to have a hard think about what they are doing, the tax could be adjusted to reflect the damage they might do to the native populations.
In truth, there is little chance of any change in current policies, unless all interested welfare groups can agree.
Author:  Jordi [ Thu Oct 29, 2009 6:31 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: An issue that makes me think

Well, I don´t think importation of wild animals as it is being done now has a future. Maybe farming in the native countries, as said in an onther thread, has.
But I wouldn´t think of giving part of the sale of a captive bred animal as a penalisation. In fact, this could be a factor to decide someone to buy to that particular breeder instead of a pet shop. At the end, all captive breeding has begun with some wild caught.
Another thing that I think there should be, is a list of genuine breeders, who are known to keep the animals in good conditions and who would´t sell hatchlings to the fisrt who asked.
Something like the list of good veterinarians.
Just in case, I am not a breeder. I have bred some animals, I keep most of them and I have given some. But I don´t discard selling some one day if I have too much.

Jordi
Author:  Tortoise Trust [ Thu Oct 29, 2009 7:05 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: An issue that makes me think

I can tell you for sure that from surveys we have done (including the recent one - not yet published) that very, very few problems are caused by genuine breeders OR by people who buy from breeders. The problems are almost 100% with people buying from pet stores and online dealers *WITHOUT DOING ANY RESEARCH*. The result is:

1) They buy animals they know nothing about;
2) They buy animals they cannot ever possibly care for properly;
3) They buy animals that get sick, or die, or get dumped on rescues (or in the wild).

Educated buyers who buy from caring breeders are not the problem. This issue is caused by bulk imports and impulse, uneducated buyers.

There are problems all over the world, and the cause is the same. I had a case just last week where someone was sold a G. sulcata and they did not even have a house or garden. They lived on the 6th floor of an apartment block.... :roll:

Andy
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