Fort Myers (News-Press) -- The lesser slow loris hunts at night, using its huge eyes and strong
hands to capture and crush insects. Weighing about a pound-and-a-half,
this loris doesn't have a tail but does have a grooming claw, a
specialized nail found in certain primates that is more spike-like than
These nocturnal primates are
found in Southeast Asian forests, but they are also found on the U.S.
Fish and Wildlife Service's list of protected foreign species. The
Endangered Species Act requires that all animals, regardless of location
and home range, must be considered, assessed and, if necessary, managed
by this arm of the federal government.
nations of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species
of Wild Fauna and Flora, or CITES, met last month in Bangkok to discuss
the health and population trends of endangered and threatened animals in
tout the program as a way to safeguard against illegal animal
trafficking while at the same time cutting down on the number of
invasive animals poachers try to smuggle into the United States. And
while many Floridians are well-versed in animal protection and guarding
against invasive species - such as the Burmese python - not everyone in
Southwest Florida is pleased with the FWS foreign push and what it might
mean for local animals.
macaws are already listed by FWS, but Hendry County macaw and parrot
breeder Judy Leach said the federal government's foreign species program
is comparable to prohibition of alcohol in the United States nearly a
century ago, which led to the moonshine industry.
additional layers of government protections have some local animal
breeders worried that more harm than good may be done to the very
animals FWS is trying to protect.
you have poachers making money because it's illegal," Leach said. "Are
they protecting the animals or dooming them? Every time the federal
government makes something illegal, that is a boon to their (poacher's)
business because now they're the only ones who bring them in."
The Florida panther, manatee and American alligator were some of the
first animals protected under what is now the Endangered Species Act.
Half a century later, that list has grown to nearly 1,400 animals and
includes the North African addax and the ala balik, or Turkish trout.
While the FWS may list animals found outside U.S. borders, the laws and
regulations only apply to people under the jurisdiction of the United
Florida has particularly odd
animal challenges as critters like Nile crocodiles are protected by some
nations in which they live, as well as the United States government. In
Florida, Nile crocodiles are considered an ecological nightmare as a
handful have escaped to the wilds in recent years. One known specimen
remains on the loose, and the state issued a rare "shoot to kill" order
last year for all its wildlife officers.
international listing process starts when groups like the International
Fund for Animal Welfare, Born Free USA, Humane Society of the United
States or Defenders of Wildlife files a review request with FWS's Branch
of Foreign Species. From there scientists review population numbers and
trends, habitat and range of the animal and work with nations in which
the animal lives or did live to create a management plan that is used to
ultimate goal with any endangered, threatened or species of special
concern is to re-establish or grow native populations to the point where
human activities no longer cause significant decline.
lions are proposed for the list to make it more difficult for American
hunters to travel to Africa, shoot the animals (which are often baited),
have them mounted and shipped back to the States.
looking at about 500 or more African lions imported to the United
States every year at a time when the African lion population is in
decline," said Adam Roberts, with the nonprofit conservation group Born
Free USA in Washington. "If it is listed, an American would have to
obtain a special permit and show how killing that animal is beneficial
to the species in its native range."
attended the CITES meeting in Bangkok and said commercial fish species
and commercial timber operations were some of the more popular topics.
said he thinks the FWS foreign species program is helping many species
in other nations because it highlights the importance of the animal on a
global level and it makes it more difficult for Americans to
think there's a much greater awareness about wildlife trafficking being
as profitable as gun running and human trafficking," Roberts said.
"Globally, you have a much greater awareness of the problems wildlife
trading can create. It used to be in Africa you had a full on verbal war
over ivory trade. This past meeting you had an African nation putting
the west African manatee on the list, and i think that was a huge
message of collegiality.