From time to time, members ask why a particular species is not available on the Unrestricted Species List at the Maine Dept. of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife’s (MDIFW) website. Thanks to MHS leadership, and nearly 3 years of persistent negotiations, in 2009 the list was dramatically improved. At the request of MHS, the MDIFW has taken another proactive step in helping to grow Maine’s economy. They have established a process by which a species can be reviewed and, if approved, added to the Unrestricted List.
First step, answer the two Evaluation questions. Then review the Criteria used for getting an approval.
Commissioner’s Evaluation Criteria:
a. Does the species potentially threaten Maine’s indigenous fish or wildlife population or is a potentially invasive species?
b. Is the species threatened, endangered, or experiencing declines throughout much of its native geographic range?
The Commissioner may grant the request if:
1) It is part of a recognized scientific recovery or sanctuary effort, or
2) The requested species is to be possessed as breeding stock to maintain unrelated bloodlines, or
3) The species is available from captive-bred stocks not negatively impacting native populations.
c. Does the geographic distribution and life requisites of the species increase the likelihood of the species surviving in Maine if accidentally or intentionally introduced into the wild?
d. Is there a history of adverse environmental impacts of the species in other locations?
e. Is it possible that the species may harbor or disseminate an agent harmful to humans, domestic livestock, poultry, native wildlife, fish, other animals, or Maine flora?
f. Is the species capable of inflicting serious bodily harm to humans and/or endangering the public welfare?
g. Does the possession of the species potentially threaten a fish or wildlife population or the public welfare?
So to put this a little more plainly, in order to verify an animal’s status there are a few website to check out first and then a few other criteria.
www.iucnredlist.org Is the first to check. This is a worldwide organization that checks on the status of animals. They put a grade onto each species. For MDIFW’s purposes if it Vulnerable or less then it will qualify for our list.
www.cites.org Is the next website to check. This is an organization set up to maintain and set restrictions on the numbers of animals that can be shipped from a native country to another country. They have a few classifications for animals, Appendix 1 (APP1) which is the most restrictive, and MDIFW will not add these animals to the list. APP2 is the next down and any on this list will only be added as Captive Bred. App3 and unlisted animals can be added to the list without restrictions.
The next qualification isn’t as easy to look up, if a species is Native to the US, we have to look at their status in each of the states that they are in. So long as they are not endangered in more than half of the states they will qualify for our list.
The next few pieces of criteria are a little grayer. They don’t want the “big” species, those that just wouldn’t do well in Maine and/or true venomous species. Some of these include Burmese pythons, reticulated pythons, alligator snapping turtle, sulcatta tortoise’s and crocodile monitors just to name a few, see a more complete list below.
If all looks good, submit an application with MHS (We’ll be submitting the applications in the fall). The State of Maine charges $50 per requested species to be reviewed. As a member of the MHS, you can submit through the organization and pay only $25, and the MHS will pick up the other $25. Another membership benefits that more than pays for your dues!
Just so everyone can see what has already been picked and reviewed by the MHS; look below for a list of the ones that MHS is going forward with that people have already sponsored. MHS has also already done some basic look ups on some species, and they should pass the rest of the criteria, if you want to sponsor one of them let us know and we will look harder at that species.
So there is no confusion; just because MHS adds your pick to our list, doesn’t mean it is instantly on the Unrestricted List, there is going to be time between when you pick the animal and when MDIFW even starts their review. Also, the review MHS does isn’t exactly the same as the one MDIFW does and your pick might not pass their review. We are going to do everything we can to avoid this but it might happen, in case it does we will be unable to give you a refund. Also MHS has final say in which species we take money for, it is half MHS money going up as well. If there is a species you want but we don’t agree with, you can submit a species on your own at any time, at full price to MDIFW.
If you have any questions please let us know.
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