[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 53 (Wednesday, March 19, 2014)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 15250-15252]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-05954]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

[Docket No. FWS-HQ-IA-2014-0010; 92220-1113-0000; ABC Code: C6]
RIN 1018-BA47


Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Reinstatement of 
the Regulation That Excludes U.S. Captive-Bred Scimitar-Horned Oryx, 
Addax, and Dama Gazelle From Certain Prohibitions

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014 (Pub. L. 113-76) 
was enacted into law on January 17, 2014. A provision of that act 
directs the Secretary of the Interior, within 60 days of enactment, to 
reissue the final rule published on September 2, 2005, that authorized 
certain otherwise prohibited activities with U.S. captive-bred 
specimens of scimitar-horned oryx, addax, and dama gazelle where the 
purpose of the activity is associated with the management of the 
species in a manner that contributes to increasing or sustaining 
captive numbers or to potential reintroduction to range countries. This 
rule implements that directive.

[[Page 15251]]


DATES: This action is effective March 19, 2014.

ADDRESSES: This final rule is available on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov. You may obtain information about permits or other 
authorizations to carry out otherwise prohibited activities by 
contacting the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Division of Management 
Authority, Branch of Permits, 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, Room 212, 
Arlington, VA 22203; telephone: 703-358-2104 or (toll free) 800-358-
2104; facsimile: 703-358-2281; email: managementauthority@fws.gov; Web 
site: http://www.fws.gov/international/.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Robert R. Gabel, Chief, Division of 
Management Authority, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 4401 N. Fairfax 
Drive, Suite 212, Arlington, VA 22203; telephone 703-358-2093; fax 703-
358-2280. If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), 
call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 800-877-8339.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Background

    On September 2, 2005 (70 FR 52319), the Service determined that the 
scimitar-horned oryx (Oryx dammah), addax (Addax nasomaculatus), and 
dama gazelle (Gazella dama) were endangered in their entirety under the 
Endangered Species Act (ESA; 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). According to this 
rule, the numbers of these species of antelopes in the wild had 
declined drastically in the deserts of North Africa over the past 50 
years. The causes of decline were habitat loss (desertification, 
permanent human settlement, and competition with domestic livestock), 
regional military activity, and uncontrolled killing. With the 
exception of reintroduced animals, no sightings of the scimitar-horned 
oryx had been reported since the late 1980s. Remnant populations of the 
addax might still exist in remote desert areas, but probably fewer than 
600 occur in the wild. Only small numbers of dama gazelle were 
estimated to occur in the species' historical range, with recent 
estimates of fewer than 700 in the wild. Captive-breeding programs 
operated by zoos and private ranches have increased the number of these 
antelopes, while genetically managing their herds and providing founder 
stock necessary for reintroduction. At that time, the Sahelo-Saharan 
Interest Group (SSIG) of the United Nations Environment Program 
estimated that 4,000-5,000 scimitar-horned oryx, 1,500 addax, and 750 
dama gazelle are in captivity worldwide, many of which were held in the 
United States. Based on a 2010 census of its members, the Exotic 
Wildlife Association (EWA) estimated that 11,032 scimitar-horned oryx, 
5,112 addax, and 894 dama gazelle were on EWA member ranches.
    On September 2, 2005 (the same date that we listed the three 
antelopes as endangered), the Service also published a new regulation 
(70 FR 52310) at 50 CFR 17.21(h) to govern certain activities with U.S. 
captive-bred animals of these three species. For live antelopes, 
including embryos and gametes, and sport-hunted trophies of these three 
species, the regulation authorized certain otherwise prohibited 
activities where the purpose of the activity is associated with the 
management of the species in a manner that contributed to increasing or 
sustaining captive numbers or to potential reintroduction to range 
countries. These activities include take; export or re-import; 
delivery, receipt, carrying, transport or shipment in interstate or 
foreign commerce in the course of a commercial activity; and sale or 
offer for sale in interstate or foreign commerce. For additional 
information on that final rule, please see the preamble to the rule 
published on September 2, 2005 (70 FR 52310).
    The promulgation of this regulation was challenged in two 
consolidated cases in the United States District Court for the District 
of Columbia (see Friends of Animals, et al., v. Ken Salazar, Secretary 
of the Interior and Rebecca Ann Cary, et al., v. Rowan Gould, Acting 
Director, Fish and Wildlife Service, et al., 626 F. Supp. 2d 102 
(D.D.C. 2009)). The District Court found that the rule violated section 
10(c) of the ESA by not providing the public an opportunity to comment 
on activities being carried out with these three antelope species. On 
June 22, 2009, the Court remanded the rule to the Service for action 
consistent with its opinion.
    To comply with the Court's order, the Service published a proposed 
rule on July 7, 2011 (76 FR 39804) and a final rule on January 5, 2012 
(77 FR 431) that removed the regulation at 50 CFR 17.21(h), thus 
eliminating the exclusion for U.S. captive-bred scimitar-horned oryx, 
addax, and dama gazelle from certain prohibitions under the ESA. Under 
that final rule, any person who wished to conduct an otherwise 
prohibited activity with U.S. captive-bred scimitar-horned oryx, addax, 
or dama gazelle would need to qualify for an exemption or obtain 
authorization for such activity under the ESA. For additional 
information on that final rule, please see the preamble to the rule 
published on January 5, 2012 (77 FR 431).
    On January 17, 2014, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014 
(Pub. L. 113-76) was enacted. Division G, Title I, Section 127 of that 
act directs the Secretary of the Interior, within 60 days of the date 
of enactment, to reissue the final rule published on September 2, 2005 
(70 FR 52310), without regard to any other provision of statute or 
regulation that applies to issuance of such rule. This rule implements 
that directive.

Effects of the Rule

    With this rule, persons who wish to engage in the specified 
otherwise prohibited activities that meet the criteria for enhancement 
of the propagation or survival of these species may do so without 
obtaining an individual ESA permit. This rule does not authorize any 
activity for any specimen of the three species from the wild. It also 
does not affect provisions relating to importation or possession and 
other acts with unlawfully taken wildlife. In addition, this rule 
applies only to specimens that are captive-bred in the United States. 
Any person who wishes to engage in any act that is prohibited under the 
ESA with a specimen that has not been captive-bred in the United States 
or from a facility that does not meet the criteria of this rule will 
continue to need to obtain an individual permit under the ESA. The 
issuance or denial of such permits is decided on a case-by-case basis 
and only after all required findings have been made.
    Each of the three antelope species are listed in Appendix I of the 
Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna 
and Flora (CITES). This rule does not affect the CITES requirements for 
these species. Therefore, any import into or export from the United 
States of specimens of these species would not be authorized until all 
CITES requirements have been met.
    For additional information on this final rule, please see the 
preamble to the rule published on September 2, 2005 (70 FR 52310).

Effective Date

    This rule is effective upon publication in the Federal Register. 
Section 127 of Division G, Title I, of Pub. L. 113-76, directs us to 
reissue, within 60 days of enactment, the final rule published on 
September 2, 2005. That section also expressly provides that such 
reissuance is not subject to any other statute or regulation that 
applies to such a rule. Accordingly, in reissuing this rule, any

[[Page 15252]]

delay in the effective date otherwise required by statute, regulation, 
or Executive Order does not apply.

Required Determinations

    This rulemaking implements Section 127 of Division G, Title I, of 
Pub. L. 113-76, which expressly provides that the reissuance of this 
rule is not subject to any other provision of statute or regulation 
that applies to issuance of such a rule. Accordingly, in reissuing this 
rule, the Service has not made and is not required to make 
determinations otherwise required by statute, regulation, or Executive 
Order, such as those previously made when issuing the final rule 
published on September 2, 2005 (70 FR 52310, 52317-52318) (publishing a 
new regulation at 50 CFR 17.21(h)) or those previously made when 
issuing the final rule published on January 5, 2012 (77 FR 431, 436-
437) (removing the regulation at 50 CFR 17.21(h)).

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--[AMENDED]

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

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


0
2. Amend Sec.  17.21 by adding paragraph (h) to read as follows:


Sec.  17.21  Prohibitions.

* * * * *
    (h) U.S. captive-bred scimitar-horned oryx, addax, and dama 
gazelle. Notwithstanding paragraphs (b), (c), (e), and (f) of this 
section, any person subject to the jurisdiction of the United States 
may take; export or re-import; deliver, receive, carry, transport or 
ship in interstate or foreign commerce, in the course of a commercial 
activity; or sell or offer for sale in interstate or foreign commerce 
live wildlife, including embryos and gametes, and sport-hunted trophies 
of scimitar-horned oryx (Oryx dammah), addax (Addax nasomaculatus), and 
dama gazelle (Gazella dama) provided:
    (1) The purpose of such activity is associated with the management 
or transfer of live wildlife, including embryos and gametes, or sport 
hunting in a manner that contributes to increasing or sustaining 
captive numbers or to potential reintroduction to range countries;
    (2) The specimen was captive-bred, in accordance with Sec.  17.3, 
within the United States;
    (3) All live specimens of that species held by the captive-breeding 
operation are managed in a manner that prevents hybridization of the 
species or subspecies;
    (4) All live specimens of that species held by the captive-breeding 
operation are managed in a manner that maintains genetic diversity;
    (5) Any export of or foreign commerce in a specimen meets the 
requirements of paragraph (g)(4) of this section, as well as parts 13, 
14, and 23 of this chapter;
    (6) Each specimen to be re-imported is uniquely identified by a 
tattoo or other means that is reported on the documentation required 
under paragraph (h)(5) of this section; and
    (7) Each person claiming the benefit of the exception of this 
paragraph (h) must maintain accurate written records of activities, 
including births, deaths, and transfers of specimens, and make those 
records accessible to Service officials for inspection at reasonable 
hours set forth in Sec. Sec.  13.46 and 13.47 of this chapter.
    (8) The sport-hunted trophy consists of raw or tanned parts, such 
as bones, hair, head, hide, hooves, horns, meat, skull, rug, 
taxidermied head, shoulder, or full body mount, of a specimen that was 
taken by the hunter during a sport hunt for personal use. It does not 
include articles made from a trophy, such as worked, manufactured, or 
handicraft items for use as clothing, curios, ornamentation, jewelry, 
or other utilitarian items for commercial purposes.

    Dated: March 10, 2014.
Michael Bean,
Acting Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and 
Parks.
[FR Doc. 2014-05954 Filed 3-17-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-55-P