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US Government Seeks Comments on Proposed Amphibian Trade Restrictions

Clawed Frog FemaleSome time ago I posted an article concerning possible new Federal regulations that could limit the trade in live amphibians (read it here), and promised to notify folks when the government asked for public comments.  That time is now upon us.

The Proposal – History and Intent

The proposed regulations stem from concerns that the trade in live frogs and salamanders (and frog legs) is aiding the spread of 2 deadly amphibian diseases, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (“Chytrid fungus” or Bd) and Ranavirus (please see the article mentioned earlier for details).  

Notice of the proposed regulations, which would prohibit trade in amphibians not certified as being free of Bd, has now been posted in the Federal Register.  Interested persons and organizations may now express their opinions on the matters related to the proposed rules.

Who Should Comment

As we still have a great deal to learn about emerging amphibian diseases, I urge you to comment if you have some familiarity with the subject.  One need not be a herpetologist – in fact, the experiences of pet keepers are specifically being sought.  Please also be sure to alert your local herp club or other similar groups you may belong to.

Bd has been implicated in the decline or extinction of over 250 amphibian species, so time is of the essence.  It is also important that any regulations enacted help solve the problem while still allowing responsible hobbyists to safely keep and breed amphibians.

How to Comment

Commenting is easy…simply click here and you will be taken to a form that can be used to register your opinions.  The comment period closes on Thursday, December 16, 2010.  Examples of the types of questions that the government is seeking to answer may be found here.  However, you need not address these questions – any and all experiences or ideas are welcome and will be considered.  If you have any questions or concerns about this process, please feel free to post a comment after this article and I’ll be happy to help.

Further Reading

Text of the official announcement in the Federal Register.

My article on Disease and Amphibians in the Fish Bait Trade.

Amphibian Ark update on the federal proposal.



  1. avatar

    Thanks Frank. The more voices we have the better. So far a lot of comments I have read on the Federal Register have been in support of the proposal as it is written. A few of these comments were from Australia.
    Personally, I support the proposal, but not in its entirety. I think amphibians and there eggs coming from outside the US need to be checked for Bd and Ranavirus. I don’t think there needs to be testing for interstate travel and enforcing that will be a major headache anyway.
    Samples from each imported shipment should be checked and held over until they are given a clean bill of health. Not all specimens need to be checked, just two or three from each box. The screening posses, however, needs to be stream-lined and made more economical for this proposal to succeed.
    While I am thinking about it, I think it may also be possible that other shipments out of areas of known activity of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis should also be checked. Plants and other animals are not effected by the disease, but have the potential to be carriers of Bd.

    Kurt Kunze
    Deputy Administrator, FrogForum.net
    Director, New England Herpetological Society
    Wildlife Educator, New England Wildlife Center

    • avatar

      Hello Kurt, Frank Indiviglio here.

      Nice to hear from you; Thanks for your thoughts.

      I’m sure there is a way to streamline testing as you suggest; such has been done as regards many products/food items. I’ll stay alert for more news…

      Good luck and please keep me posted.

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

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About Frank Indiviglio

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Being born with a deep interest in animals might seem unfortunate for a native Bronxite , but my family encouraged my interest and the menagerie that sprung from it. Jobs with pet stores and importers had me caring for a fantastic assortment of reptiles and amphibians. After a detour as a lawyer, I was hired as a Bronx Zoo animal keeper and was soon caring for gharials, goliath frogs, king cobras and everything in-between. Research has taken me in pursuit of anacondas, Orinoco crocodiles and other animals in locales ranging from Venezuela’s llanos to Tortuguero’s beaches. Now, after 20+ years with the Bronx Zoo, I am a consultant for several zoos and museums. I have spent time in Japan, and often exchange ideas with zoologists there. I have written books on salamanders, geckos and other “herps”, discussed reptile-keeping on television and presented papers at conferences. A Master’s Degree in biology has led to teaching opportunities. My work puts me in contact with thousands of hobbyists keeping an array of pets. Without fail, I have learned much from them and hope, dear readers, that you will be generous in sharing your thoughts on this blog and web site. For a complete biography of my experience click here.
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