[Federal Register Volume 68, Number 177 (Friday, September 12, 2003)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 53705-53706]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 03-23286]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 16

RIN 1018-AT28


Review of Information Concerning Boiga Snakes

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of inquiry.

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SUMMARY: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is reviewing available 
economic and biological information on the Boiga genus of snakes for 
possible addition of the 28 species of snakes in the genus to the list 
of injurious wildlife under the Lacey Act. The importation and 
introduction of Boiga snakes into the natural ecosystems of the United 
States may pose a threat to agriculture, horticulture, forestry, the 
health and welfare of human beings, or the welfare and survival of 
wildlife and wildlife resources in the United States. Listing Boiga 
snakes as injurious would prohibit their importation into, or 
transportation between, the continental United States, the District of 
Columbia, Hawaii, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or any territory or 
possession of the United States, with limited exceptions. This notice 
seeks comments from the public to aid in determining if a proposed rule 
is warranted.

DATES: Comments must be submitted on or before November 12, 2003.

ADDRESSES: Comments may be mailed or sent by fax to the Chief, Division 
of Environmental Quality, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 4401 North 
Fairfax Drive, Suite 322, Arlington, VA 22203; fax (703) 358-1800. You 
may send comments by electronic mail (email) to: Boiga@fws.gov. See the 
Public Comments Solicited section below for file format and other 
information about electronic filing.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Kari Duncan, Division of Environmental 
Quality, Branch of Invasive Species at (703) 358-2464 or kari_
duncan@fws.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On May 28, 2003, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service received a petition from the North American Brown Tree Snake 
Control Team requesting that the entire Boiga genus of snakes be 
considered for inclusion in the injurious wildlife regulations pursuant 
to the Lacey Act. Brown tree snakes, Boiga irregularis, are already 
listed as an injurious wildlife species under the Lacey Act. The 
petitioners requested that we list the entire genus because many of the 
species are similar in appearance and could be misidentified upon 
inspection at importation, resulting in the accidental introduction of 
brown tree snakes. The petitioners also noted, ``many of the Boiga 
species have similar ecologies, so it is not just the brown tree snake 
that has the potential to become a problematic invasive species in the 
United States.''
    There are 28 species of snakes in the Boiga genus. Snakes in the 
Boiga genus are native to Southeast Asia, China, India, Afghanistan, 
Malaysia, Indonesia, Oceania, Northeast Australia, and eastern 
equatorial Africa. Boiga irregularis was accidentally introduced in 
Guam and has become established. There have been other accidental 
introductions into Hawaii, Alaska, and Texas, but Boiga snakes are not 
established in those locations.
    Based on U.S. Fish and Wildlife Law Enforcement importation 
declaration data, there were 1,850 snakes in the Boiga genus imported 
into the United States during the six and one-half year period from 
January 1997 to June 2003. The declared value of those 1,850 snakes was 
$16,495. Most of the snakes were imported from Indonesia and most are 
used in the pet trade.
    The Lacey Act (18 U.S.C. 42) and its implementing regulations in 50 
CFR part 16 restrict the importation into or the transportation between 
the continental United States, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, the 
Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or any territory or possession of the 
United States of any species of wildlife, or eggs thereof, determined 
to be injurious or potentially injurious to certain interests, 
including those of agriculture, horticulture, forestry, the health and 
welfare of human beings, and the welfare and survival of wildlife and 
wildlife resources in the United States. However, injurious wildlife 
may be imported by permit for zoological, educational, medical, or 
scientific purposes in accordance with permit regulations at 50 CFR 
16.22, or by Federal agencies without a permit solely for their own 
use. If the process initiated by this notice results in the addition of 
the Boiga genus of snakes to the list of injurious wildlife contained 
in 50 CFR part 16, their importation into the United States would be 
prohibited except under the conditions, and for the purposes, described 
above.
    This notice solicits economic, biological, or other information 
concerning Boiga snakes. The information will be used to determine if 
the species is a threat, or potential threat, to those interests of the 
United States delineated above, and thus warrants addition to the list 
of injurious wildlife in 50 CFR 16.13.

Public Comments Solicited

    Please send comments to Chief, Division of Environmental Quality, 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 4401 North Fairfax Drive, Suite 322, 
Arlington, VA 22030. Comments may be hand-delivered to the above 
address or faxed to (703) 358-1800. If you submit comments by e-mail, 
please submit comments as an ASCII file format and avoid the use of 
special characters and encryption. Please include ``Attn: [RIN 1018-
AT28]'' and your name and return address in your e-mail message. Please 
note that this email address will be

[[Page 53706]]

closed at the termination of this public comment period.
    Our practice is to make comments, including names and home 
addresses of respondents, available for public review during regular 
business hours. Individual respondents may request that we withhold 
their home address from the rulemaking record, which we will honor to 
the extent allowable by law. There also may be circumstances in which 
we would withhold from the rulemaking record a respondent's identity, 
as allowable by law. If you wish us to withhold your name and/or 
address, you must state this prominently at the beginning of your 
comment. However, we will not consider anonymous comments. We will make 
all submissions from organizations or businesses, and from individuals 
identifying themselves as representatives or officials of organizations 
or businesses, available for public inspection in their entirety.

    Authority: This notice is issued under the authority of the 
Lacey Act (18 U.S.C. 42).

    Dated: September 2, 2003.
Craig Manson,
Assistant Secretary for Fish, Wildlife and Parks.
[FR Doc. 03-23286 Filed 9-11-03; 8:45 am]
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