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Old 06-17-2020, 05:58 AM
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Question Legal blue galacts?

I recently noticed that Saurian is offering some blue galacts. I instantly was like hmm, not him too. But when I also discovered his faunaclassifieds ad, it said they are offspring from zoo animals legally imported into the US. Anybody else know anything about this? Are blue galacts officially legal now? Or is there something else shady going on here?
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Old 06-17-2020, 06:54 AM
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Default Re: Legal blue galacts?

Funny how people can seem to produce documentation declaring their legal entry into this country, but nobody can produce a document showing that Brazil let them go. That is because this paperwork does not exist. Brazil has been burned and taken advantage of, and are now extremely protective of their animals and plant life.
I just discussed the blue galactonotus with Ed Kowalski, retired head zookeeper. He reaffirmed what I already knew.
Brazil was raped once again, with the theft of the blue galactonotus, and the smuggling of same frogs out of the country.
As a retired head zookeeper, Ed would be familiar with the laws regarding legal, and illegal, imported animals, especially regarding animals for zoo use.
As of about 2 days ago, I can assure you, Ed is still quite upset that the blue galactonotus was ripped from it's homeland, smuggled past their borders, and smuggled into the US.

I know you are just asking, but this is something I feel particularly strongly about. This little tirade is not directed at you. I gather by your question that you are probably not looking for smuggled frogs either. But the subject came up, so I'll give it the attention it needs.

So, we have a STOLEN, SMUGGLED frog, with zero paperwork for their legal export. If it can't be legally exported, there is no paperwork in the world that can somehow legalize that theft.
Let's look at this another way. I needed a new TV. My next door neighbor just got a new TV. I went next door and took his TV. The neighbors all saw me do it. The cops know exactly who's door to knock on. When I open the door I just hand them this note.
"You can see right here officer, I, Doug Hollister, do grant this TV legal entry into Doug's living room. And look, right here, officer, It's signed by Doug Hollister himself. I even have more paperwork showing exactly what time they made legal entry into my living room".
Does this sound like I'm being utterly ridiculous? Good! It should! The whole situation is utterly ridiculous, like an outdated comedy routine.

"Oh yes! Completely legal. See, they were legally smuggled..."
"I'm sorry, legally what?"
"Smuggled. It's a term meaning to illegally move goods into, or OUT OF, a country"
"I'm sorry, I'm still not clear on this. Illegally what?"
"Illegally moved them out of a country."
"Ok, I think I'm catching on...but Who's on First?

We, as a hobby, are supposed to be past this. Yes, the hobby has a dark past, and a history of smuggled frogs. I've owned smuggled frogs myself when I was young, the hobby was young, and my ideals weren't fully formed.
WE NEED TO BE BEYOND THIS NOW. We don't need smuggled frogs. We have good people working hard to bring us legal, fresh morphs and genetics.

I kid you not. If somebody offered me a handful of free blue galactonotus, I would turn them down flat, even though I don't currently have any frogs. These frogs are a bloody nose to the hobby. The blue galactonotus is a reminder of our dark past, and an utter embarrassment to the hobby.

(hanging my head in shame and walking out.)
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Old 06-17-2020, 12:45 PM
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I also find it funny how nobody gives a f# about galacts, but all of a sudden there is a blue morph and everyone goes crazy spending thousands of dollars for them. Like whatever happened to Azureus? Azureus used to be the most sought after dart frog but now the experienced keepers see it as too common to be worthy of a terrarium in their frog room. People switching to large obligates while various tincs are fading away also upset me but thats a different subject. It really sickens me. We don't need another blue frog that's illegal when we already have the most beautiful blue frog in the world. This hobby has really made me detest how fickle people can be.
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Old 06-17-2020, 03:17 PM
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Default Re: Legal blue galacts?

Yeah, it's very disheartening that Pat Nabors is offering these frogs. There is no way you can prove that the frogs that he is offering aren't the frogs that Taron helped to illegally smuggle out of Brazil in the last few years.

I'm pretty sure there is no record of "blue" galacts in USA zoos -- indicating that these frogs would have to be the smuggled frogs. Like, I've visited zoos in Brazil, and I've only seen the red ones there. SO it's a bit ridiculous to say these come from way back then.

really, it's just TOO MUCH of a coincidence to say that you got the blue galacts in the 80s/90s when the red ones came in, you kept them hidden and secret for 30 years, and then right after the blue frogs are publicly smuggled out of Brazil, you just HAPPEN to have a bunch of frogs?? C'mon...

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Old 06-18-2020, 04:54 AM
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Default Re: Legal blue galacts?

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really, it's just TOO MUCH of a coincidence to say that you got the blue galacts in the 80s/90s when the red ones came in, you kept them hidden and secret for 30 years, and then right after the blue frogs are publicly smuggled out of Brazil, you just HAPPEN to have a bunch of frogs?? C'mon...
I understand the grey area with the frogs imported in the 80s/90s, but are people really claiming they are from those old imports? I am pretty sure they were only recently "discovered" so that would be interesting if Patrick Nabors was really claiming they are from way back then. I do know that in the Netherlands some zoos were given illegally smuggled Tumucumaque tincs after they were confiscated. They then released offspring to some hobbyists and they made it into the hobby anyway, although I believe they require some sort of certificate declaring them from that zoo or something. Pretty pointless to confiscate them at that point. I wouldn't be surprised if that is what happened with the blue galacts that Patrick subsequently acquired. But it is pretty suspicious that he starts selling them not long after DFC started selling them.
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Old 06-18-2020, 12:13 PM
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Default Re: Legal blue galacts?

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Originally Posted by Tinc Tank View Post
I do know that in the Netherlands some zoos were given illegally smuggled Tumucumaque tincs after they were confiscated. They then released offspring to some hobbyists and they made it into the hobby anyway, although I believe they require some sort of certificate declaring them from that zoo or something. Pretty pointless to confiscate them at that point.
Those offspring are still illegal to possess in the US under Lacey; the legislation expressly prohibits offspring of animals that were taken in violation of foreign law.

Neither is is pointless to confiscate them at that point, and the discussion at hand makes that clear: if we pretend that "captive bred" examples of the species (or in these cases, the known illegal morphs lines of a certain species) are legal to possess here (which they aren't, per legislation), then every individual of that species/morph is too, so long as it isn't found inside someone's sock at MIA customs.

To anticipate the next consideration: captive breeding doesn't reduce these sorts of smuggling pressures on wild populations, since (a) there is more gain to be had by smuggling in new morphs if they and/or their offspring can be laundered, and (b) breeding doesn't necessarily keep pace with demand, in many species still currently imported at the same time they are being captive bred in large numbers.
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Old 06-18-2020, 02:47 PM
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Default Re: Legal blue galacts?

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Neither is is pointless to confiscate them at that point, and the discussion at hand makes that clear: if we pretend that "captive bred" examples of the species (or in these cases, the known illegal morphs lines of a certain species) are legal to possess here (which they aren't, per legislation), then every individual of that species/morph is too, so long as it isn't found inside someone's sock at MIA customs.
What I meant was why would the Netherlands confiscate them and then send them to a zoo who will release them to hobbyists anyway? Seems like a waste of time at that point. I am not trying to insinuate they would be legal here, but a US zoo who released them to the public might be an explanation for how Patrick got his and why he asserts their legality.
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Old 06-18-2020, 04:52 PM
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Default Re: Legal blue galacts?

Releasing them to a zoo - at the very least that will prevent the smugglers profiteering from it and avoid a common alternative for smuggled animals is euthanasia, while also leaving them with someone experienced.

It also seems likely that the zoo wouldn't distribute offspring to "random" hobbyists.
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Old 06-18-2020, 07:14 PM
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What I meant was why would the Netherlands confiscate them and then send them to a zoo who will release them to hobbyists anyway? Seems like a waste of time at that point. I am not trying to insinuate they would be legal here, but a US zoo who released them to the public might be an explanation for how Patrick got his and why he asserts their legality.
Ah, I misunderstood your precise point. I believe that EU regulations permit what you're describing: recovered from smugglers --> zoo --> hobbyists. But even if a US zoo then got them from some EU source (whether a US zoo could obtain permits for that, I don't know), they would still be prohibited from legal possession in the US.

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Releasing them to a zoo - at the very least that will prevent the smugglers profiteering from it and avoid a common alternative for smuggled animals is euthanasia, while also leaving them with someone experienced.

It also seems likely that the zoo wouldn't distribute offspring to "random" hobbyists.
When it comes to preserving species/locales in the wild, the fate of a dozen smuggled animals isn't really relevant; if euthanizing a dozen frogs when they get picked up by customs can help to keep that species/morph from being 'in demand' and thus smuggled more, then euthanizing them is a huge net gain. Once one pair of illegal animals gets called 'legal' in captivity then the door is open for smuggling more of them.

Zoo line animals do eventually get into the hands of anyone who wants to buy them, as the species/locale gets propagated.
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Old 06-18-2020, 07:51 PM
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Default Re: Legal blue galacts?

They are flat out not legal here. USFW knows all about these frogs, but it seems like they've got bigger issues to concentrate on.

I get that, but it disappoints me a bit. Because without an example or two, people will keep feeling it's OK to own frogs like this species.

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Old 06-18-2020, 10:02 PM
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Default Re: Legal blue galacts?

When Taron stood on top of a mountain, and screamed out to world that he had just successfully "imported" the blue Galacts, not only into the United States, but right into my very own backyard, I could not stay quiet. Right here in Colorado.
You bet your sweet Astaxanthin I contacted US Fish and Wildlife!
I was one of at least 3 froggers I know of personally, who have contacted USFW.
Under those particular circumstances, how could I not? He was bragging all over FaceBook that he was completely, and solely, responsible for their "importation" into this country. It was just so bold and blatant. Just making sure he got the recognition that solely he, completely deserved.
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Old 06-18-2020, 11:29 PM
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Default Re: Legal blue galacts?

Doug, there were a LOT of signatures on what we sent into USFW. And what we sent in was acknowledged as received. And then, nothing.

It's really disappointing.

s
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Old 06-19-2020, 03:52 PM
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Question Re: Legal blue galacts?

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Doug, there were a LOT of signatures on what we sent into USFW. And what we sent in was acknowledged as received. And then, nothing.

It's really disappointing.

s
How long ago was it received? Maybe they are still building up a case?
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Old 06-19-2020, 04:18 PM
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I do know that in the Netherlands some zoos were given illegally smuggled Tumucumaque tincs after they were confiscated. They then released offspring to some hobbyists and they made it into the hobby anyway, although I believe they require some sort of certificate declaring them from that zoo or something.
This is precisely the manner in which the US FWS made the off-limits rare orchid Paphiopedilum vietnamense legal to own in the US and export abroad, effectively making the plant legal to trade even with its CITES Appendix 1 listing. Owning this plant was made possible by explicit USFWS choices, and yet it would clearly violate the Lacey Act.

I understand the concern over these frogs, absolutely. But we have, in the case of the USFWS and this orchid, them confiscating smuggled plants, keeping them alive in national gardens, then distributing the seed to commercial growers, then permitting the sale of the offspring to the general public, and then also allowing the species' expert with CITES permits to destinations abroad. This is no different than exactly what you describe happening with zoos in Europe, but this example happened on US soil! In theory, these plants are no different in origin than any of the "grey area" or "European" frogs. It certainly is suggestive of one of a few things.

A) CITES Paperwork and the framework and exceptions for captive-bred flora and fauna trumps Lacey Act concerns (one says it's legal, the other doesn't...does international treaty trump federal interstate commerce law?)
B) It's chosen to NOT prosecute as an offense under the Lacey Act, even if it could be?
C) Indeed, a case could be in the works or some other deeper investigation, considering past USFWS operations like "Operation Rock Bottom" in the aquarium trade. This seems less likely given the fact that USFWS is not out there rounding up everyone kid who owns a bearded dragon...nevermind all the other "grey area" well-established dart frogs in the hobby already.

Again, I get it, but there are clearly contrary examples and other things at play here. The unfortunate reality is that it might be pretty hard to figure out the legality of these frogs when they arrive here with paperwork furnished by European countries and then accepted and authorized by the US. CITES *requires* an agreement between the exporting and importing countries.

I hate to rehash this argument, but it appears that Blue Galacs and now even Tumucumaque Tincs are here in the US hobby, and expanding their presence, despite the communal ethic from longer-term hobbyists that largely says they have no business being here. The best way to avoid any risk to yourself from future prosecution would be to not buy them. Voting with your wallet works both ways....
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Old 06-19-2020, 04:44 PM
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Not to reignite the same argument that has happened on the boards in the past, but it just seems so unlikely they are ever going to do anything about these frogs. Galacts are already plentiful all throughout the hobby and they don't seem to care one bit. Tinctorius are ubiquitous and it doesn't seem like they will do anything about it because technically the species is totally legal, just that the population is from a prohibited country. We already have Lorenzos and Brazilian yellowheads, they don't seem to mind. I am not trying to justify it or say it is okay, I am just stating my concerns over the reality of the issue.

If you follow this link, you'll see that Tumucumaque is on the radar of CITES already, but it gives no indication of law enforcement or any indication of an action plan. They state what "should" be done but they really have no jurisdiction in Suriname. They follow the well-known tinctorius morph guide, and surprisingly they state that Green Sips are from Brazil. So are they going to show up and arrest people with Green Sips too? Green sips came after the time period where they would be grey area, so technically they are in the red zone.
https://cites.org/sites/default/file...C28-Inf-35.pdf

Taking into account all the illegal frogs of the same species in the country, I really think the issue is way too big for them to handle. They can't just arrest/prosecute everyone. I think that might cost too much money and resources. Why would they pick and choose just one locale over another? This might make prosecution in the court of law too complicated, but what do I know.
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Old 06-19-2020, 05:37 PM
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Tinctorius are ubiquitous and it doesn't seem like they will do anything about it because technically the species is totally legal, just that the population is from a prohibited country.
The relevant sections of Lacey (below) don't specify by species alone, so simply because the species itself isn't prohibited doesn't mean much. The frogs are illegal in the US because the individual animals themselves are or are the offspring of individual animals that were acquired in violation of another country's laws (Brazil, in this case). Anyway, it isn't clear how these facts have anything to do with whether USFWS acts or not. Presumably it has much more to do with budgets and the fact that this is just one grain of sand on an entire beach that they have to deal with, like you mention; spending tens of thousands of dollars prosecuting each person who has these morphs would be ridiculous.

3371a1:
"It is unlawful for any person to import, export, transport, sell, receive, acquire, or purchase any fish or wildlife or plant taken, possessed, transported, or sold in violation of any law, treaty, or regulation of the United States or in violation of any Indian tribal law"

3371a:
" The term "fish or wildlife" means any wild animal, whether alive or dead, including without limitation any wild mammal, bird, reptile, amphibian, fish, mollusk, crustacean, arthropod, coelenterate, or other invertebrate, whether or not bred, hatched, or born in captivity, and includes any part, product, egg, or offspring thereof."
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Old 06-19-2020, 08:37 PM
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Default Re: Legal blue galacts?

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If you follow this link, you'll see that Tumucumaque is on the radar of CITES already, but it gives no indication of law enforcement or any indication of an action plan. They state what "should" be done but they really have no jurisdiction in Suriname. They follow the well-known tinctorius morph guide, and surprisingly they state that Green Sips are from Brazil. So are they going to show up and arrest people with Green Sips too? Green sips came after the time period where they would be grey area, so technically they are in the red zone.
https://cites.org/sites/default/file...C28-Inf-35.pdf
Let's not forget that this is a position paper submitted to CITES, and is not CITES itself making these claims. In fact, they are quite clearly disclaimed on the first page:

"The geographical designations employed in this document do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the
CITES Secretariat (or the United Nations Environment Programme) concerning the legal status of any country, territory, or area, or
concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries. The responsibility for the contents of the document rests exclusively with its
author."

Case in point, my captive-bred Green Sips came to me long before I had ever even heard of this whole legal debacle, but even in this document, it is confusingly alleged that Green Sips are "Brazilian" and yet the actual statement is that: "“Green Sipaliwini” -- The Morphguide notes that this morph was imported into Holland about 12 years ago. Note
that Sipaliwini is an area in southern Suriname on the border with Brazil."

And where's all the outcry over French Guiana's morphs of D. tinctorius? According to the logic, Regina, Matecho, Oyapock and others should all be condemned too.

I get the whole chronological "line in the sand" mentality here, I do. But I think it's sadly a losing and somewhat hypocritical battle.

And still, there's a legal aspect to all this that remains unanswered...if we can freely trade in an endangered species of orchid that was explicitly PUT into the trade BY the USFWS, and if these frogs are arriving here properly labled with CITES paperwork...then the concerns over legality and Lacey Act, while well founded, may not in fact be relevant.

I know I've talked personally and directly about this with Taron, who seems to be the one willing to take the risks to bring these animals in...has anyone followed up lately? You'd think with being reported to the US FWS, it's been a while now, he wouldn't be allowed to freely disseminate these frogs publicly to the hobby at large if they were illegal....to do so would be entrapment in a way to any hobbyist buying them unknowingly.
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Old 06-19-2020, 09:33 PM
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Default Re: Legal blue galacts?

2ish plus years ago? I'm not positive.

As mentioned, this was well publicized. There was no case to be be built. Just had to go pick up the "importer" and the other folks who bought. If they had done it at the initial ingress, they would have stopped it in its tracks.

s
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How long ago was it received? Maybe they are still building up a case?
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Old 06-19-2020, 09:37 PM
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Default Re: Legal blue galacts?

I agree on avoiding them for your own safety.

But "voting with your wallet" will never work in this hobby. Too many folks greedy for the latest/greatest.

Frankly, I'm amazed "E. mysteriosus" and "E. captivus" are not available in the open at this point.

s
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... The best way to avoid any risk to yourself from future prosecution would be to not buy them. Voting with your wallet works both ways....
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Old 06-19-2020, 11:57 PM
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Default Re: Legal blue galacts?

So, just because there are so many accusations and presumptions flying around here when these topics come up, I figured I'd reach back to Taron (the original first importer of the Blue Galacts to the US), as I've had an interest in CITES going back two decades, and I've always approached this situation with an open mind. I knew we had discussed this at great length prior. Additionally, I will say that I even raised his longer, earlier history with him, and he did not shy away from discussing that and admitting to mistakes. Everyone can take that as they wish. So...

It took Taron only two minutes to pull up the CITES rule that effectively breaks the connection to the wild origins and ultimate foundation population in Brazil, and thus appears to nullify the implications of the Lacey Act. It centers on captive breeding and the authority given to exporting states which overrides any and all other permit requirements that would otherwise be in place in order for the trade to occur.

Now, I am NOT going to point out the specific CITES rules, so please don't ask. In part, because why show other people how to do it here since the overwhelming sentiment of this community is to be against it? You can go try to look it up and figure it out for yourself.

There is nothing stopping anyone from asking the people who are producing and selling these frogs to explain or provide support or documents or whatever you think is sensible to prove you've done your homework if your intent is to purchase. They're not obligated to provide answers, and you're not obligated to buy their animals and support their efforts.

Obviously laws are open to interpretation, but since Brazil is a CITES signatory, they are bound to the CITES rules, and as such, I'm pretty sure that while the frogs may have originated from an illegal act of smuggling (just as occurred with the original Paphiopedilum vietnamens), their presence in the hobby may be in good legal standing on the basis of CITES paperwork and export approvals and the pathway over time. I'd probably ask to see that CITES paperwork myself before making a decision to personally make a purchase in this case, but the arguments and premise are logical and sound. I have, years ago, provided orchid customers with CITES paperwork without hesitation on orchids I imported.

Considering that the US has done the exact same thing with Paph. vietnamense, as is being suggested occurred with Blue Galacts and more recently Tumucumaque, I think this is a really good indication that these frogs aren't going away and folks propbably aren't going to jail, having their animals confiscated, or being fined over having them because they are likely here legally in the eyes of the FWS.

I COULD BE WRONG of course. I am not a lawyer. And the USFWS does have a history of playing the "long game" when investigating wildlife crimes. They also have wide discretion on enforcement.

So that leaves you with a personal quandary, and circles back to what I suggested before...vote with your wallet. Use your own judgment. Call the USFWS yourself and ask questions if you must.

But outside of that, if you disagree with the CITES regulations that appear to create this pathway for the frogs to legally wind up here, then work on trying to change the laws.
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Old 06-20-2020, 12:10 AM
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Now, I am NOT going to point out the specific CITES rules, so please don't ask. In part, because why show other people how to do it here since the overwhelming sentiment of this community is to be against it?
Um, because some people here want to learn, and don't even know where to start looking for CITES rules. Some people would be very upset if relevant information weren't made freely accessible...

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Originally Posted by mpedersen View Post
I've skimmed this thread long enough to be thoroughly annoyed on multiple fronts. Allow me to vent, just a moment.

So here I am...100% new to frogs. I spend time researching websites, reading up on things. I find interesting frogs that match the criteria of coloration and behavior, and I even go to the extent of putting myself on waitlists for them with frog retailers, and ASK a budding new local herp shop to look for these for me.

HELL, there's a massive data sheet on them right here on Dendroboard. http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/car...ermediate.html

And then I come across this thread, and [email protected]#%!#%!#%! what?! ALL Galactonotus are "illegal"? No mention of it anywhere? These frogs are arguably pervasive in the hobby to some extent, and now I'm reading they were never exported legally?

All stop here; this is f'd up. Big time. I'm no fan of the Lacey Act and the ESA as they exist in our country, and this is truly a perfect example. Here I sit, browsing public retail vendors of livestock, browsing the most active dart frog community, seeing animals offered for sale, or put on wait lists, and nowhere is any shady gray areas mentioned. There is nothing to tell the truly innocent hobbyist who's just trying to enjoy a new hobby, that what he/she is doing is wrong in any capacity.

Were I not to see this ONE PARTICULAR THREAD full of allegations why would I ever question the availability of these frogs; and I'll say allegations rather than FACTS because this is all second-hand info posted on a message board...this IS the Internet where anyone can publish anything. You all may be the experts, but I have my own fair share of experiences with CITES, ESA, USFWS, and I'd want to see solid links rather than a prosecution in a forum.

Regardless, my point is this. It is apparent to me that without much effort, I could have purchased an animal that would put me in violation of the Lacey Act, and the repercussions of the Lacey Act are brutal. I would be completely innocent in my interest, and completely innocent in my desire to purchase something freely available, and yet I hypothetically could be on the hook big time.

So now here I sit, feeling a little bit like an ass for asking someone for a frog who *may* or *may not* know anything about the alleged legal status of these freely available animals. And I can squarely point directly to the community here for being complicity in that regard. The community lets someone like me down, in a big way, when you put me and my family into a really bad spot with the US FWS by virtue of having animals of dubious legal status freely available.

Me? If USFWS came to me and said "hey, those orange backed galacts you have are illegal, and here's why" I'd be completely OK with saying "no sh*t, well..here you go and here's where I got them." BUT, as you all likely know, that's NOT typically where these things END. No, they do like to throw the book at people at times.

Apologies for the rant, but I'm really kinda miffed here, and yes, I'm miffed that these animals are freely available if in fact they shouldn't be. It's negligent and irresponsible.

And on the flipside, if someone gives me an animal with CITES PAPERWORK, why would the average person question it. I mean, every stony coral in the aquarium trade is basically covered by CITES. At some point, the culpability cannot rest upon every individual who handled a mis-imported animal, because it's not possible for the end consumer to be in a position of knowledge and authority to individually verify every last supply chain and origin. That CITES paperwork, as I see it, absolves the people who have it. Somewhere back up the chain, when the fraud occured, THAT person is responsible, absolutely, If you knowingly colluded, sure, but that's a big burden of proof (and rightfully so perhaps).

So maybe lighten up on the folks who are hanging their hats on the fact that CITES PERMITS exist. I'm not saying it's right, but I am thinking about things like the USFWS who saw fit to allow Paphiopedilum vietnamense into legal, commercial culture, from plants that were originally smuggled and siezed, in order to end the black market trade by creating a legitimate. Whether it worked or not, I cannot say as I don't have actual DATA, but annecdotally, it's made this rare plant quite abundant, to the point that I cannot see much financial incentive to smuggle it from the wild still....

Very miffed here guys. This wasn't what I wanted to read about when looking at mentions of "Galacts" this evening. Nice job frog community. Now I have to go find some other bright orange and black frog that can be in groups that my son will like :P, and I have to go tell my shop guy that I don't want him to continue looking for them. OR am I completely off base and over-reacting here?
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Old 06-20-2020, 05:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Socratic Monologue View Post
Um, because some people here want to learn, and don't even know where to start looking for CITES rules. Some people would be very upset if relevant information weren't made freely accessible...
Ha ha..nice try pulling up something I wrote prior on the subject, over 2.5 years ago, out of context to support a snarky response, while missing the POINT of the FIRST part you quoted, from today. Sorry, you're making a very apples to oranges connection between the two.

Let me repeat. I'm not going to point out the specific part of CITES rules that likely do make these "Illegal Frogs" in fact "Legal".

WHY?

EVEN THOUGH THEY ARE LIKELY LEGAL (in my opinion), the COMMUNAL ETHIC HERE IS THAT IT SHOULDN'T BE DONE.

So, I'm not about to go pointing out the legal loopholes in a public forum so others can try to take advantage of them. I'm going to respect the communal ethic of this forum.

As far as finding CITES, you could have asked, or Google works. https://cites.org/

The full and current text of the convention and agreement? - https://cites.org/eng/disc/text.php
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Old 06-20-2020, 05:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Scott View Post
2ish plus years ago? I'm not positive.

As mentioned, this was well publicized. There was no case to be be built. Just had to go pick up the "importer" and the other folks who bought. If they had done it at the initial ingress, they would have stopped it in its tracks.

s
At this point I would be compelled to say they may never do anything at all, they have not done anything at all for so long. They must have bigger fish to fry. What a shame.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mpedersen View Post
It took Taron only two minutes to pull up the CITES rule that effectively breaks the connection to the wild origins and ultimate foundation population in Brazil, and thus appears to nullify the implications of the Lacey Act. It centers on captive breeding and the authority given to exporting states which overrides any and all other permit requirements that would otherwise be in place in order for the trade to occur.

Now, I am NOT going to point out the specific CITES rules, so please don't ask. In part, because why show other people how to do it here since the overwhelming sentiment of this community is to be against it? You can go try to look it up and figure it out for yourself.
If it only took 2 minutes for Taron, then it should take you less than 1 to point out the rule you're talking about. To refuse to backup your claim makes you look dishonest and lack credibility.
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Old 06-20-2020, 06:43 PM
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Default Re: Legal blue galacts?

(This is not a reply to the rule issue, just to clarify)

From The United States Attorney's Bulletin, July 2012

https://www.justice.gov/sites/defaul...0/usab6004.pdf



"An international trafficking charge under the Lacey Act requires proof of two separate steps regarding the wildlife at issue. First, the prosecutor must show that the wildlife was taken, possessed, transported, or sold in violation of an underlying law, treaty, or federal law governing the wildlife at issue. 16 U.S.C. § 3372(a) (2012). In many instances, the CITES (i.e., ESA) violation, as the underlying law, forms the initial basis for a Lacey Act charge. Second, the prosecutor must show that the defendant knowingly imported, exported, transported, received, acquired, or purchased the wildlife while knowing
of its illegal nature. Id. § 3373(d). See United States v. Carpenter, 933 F.2d 748, 750 (9th Cir. 1991) (confirming the two-step requirement)." (p. 10-11)

"Although an indirect implementation of CITES, the Lacey Act provides another method for charging international wildlife smuggling cases that involve violations of foreign wildlife laws, regardless of whether the wildlife involved is listed under CITES. 16 U.S.C.
§ 3372(a)(2)(A) (2012). In these cases, the violation of the foreign law is the basis of the Lacey Act charge. See United States v. Lee, 937 F.2d 1388, 1391-92 (1991) (defendant smuggled 500 metric tons of salmon that he knew or should have known was taken in violation of Taiwanese law into the United States )." (p.12)

The frogs are still illegal, though just not as a violation of CITES if such a rule exists.
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Old 06-21-2020, 04:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Tinc Tank View Post
If it only took 2 minutes for Taron, then it should take you less than 1 to point out the rule you're talking about. To refuse to backup your claim makes you look dishonest and lack credibility.
What's stopping you from asking Taron yourself? I simply do not feel the need to explicitly, publicly say what it is here, for the reasons I've already stated.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Socratic Monologue View Post
In many instances, the CITES (i.e., ESA) violation, as the underlying law, forms the initial basis for a Lacey Act charge.
Aha, but there is no CITES violation here, in the same manner as there is no CITES violation for the FWS introducing Paphiopedilum vietnamense to the commercial orchid trade, despite their being descendants of smuggled plants that were seized. Presuming the same chain of events for animals like the Blue Galacts in this case. I don't know that for a fact, I've not asked to see the CITES paperwork.

But, that said, that is the argument around these "grey area" frogs and the Lacey Act. IF the animals were WILD, say wild Blue Galacts were smuggled to Germany, and then simply being re-exported to the US, it would be 100% illegal, and then when they're shipped to another state, the Lacey Act violation occurs.

It's the purported institutional captive-breeding and subsequent release to the hobby and then endorsement from the exporting country that changes the rules and eliminates violations.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Socratic Monologue View Post
Second, the prosecutor must show that the defendant knowingly imported, exported, transported, received, acquired, or purchased the wildlife while knowing
of its illegal nature.
But per the CITES rule in question, the animals are no longer illegal in nature because the CITES rules wind up making them legal, despite their illicit heritage. Again, the same thing that happened right here in the US with our own FWS and P. vietnamense.

So once again, no Lacey Act infraction to prosecute.


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Originally Posted by Socratic Monologue View Post
Although an indirect implementation of CITES, the Lacey Act provides another method for charging international wildlife smuggling cases that involve violations of foreign wildlife laws, regardless of whether the wildlife involved is listed under CITES. 16 U.S.C.
Except these frogs, if captive-bred and approved for export, aren't smuggled in the first place, regardless of their illicit ancestry.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Socratic Monologue View Post
The frogs are still illegal, though just not as a violation of CITES if such a rule exists.
But the CITES rule that I'm not putting here breaks the chain back to the original smuggling of their parents.

If you want to know what it is, ask Taron. Or just do a little sleuthing...I've put enough pieces here.

ME, I didn't like the idea of owning frogs of questionable origins way back when I first learned about it, and I completely understand the communal ethic of avoiding these frogs and NOT promoting this "loophole" by explicitly pointing it out here. The reasons make sense...if there is a "loophole" then there is still an incentive to smuggle and try to game the system.

Except there is this thing...do the smugglers win? I ask, because the loophole used for Paph. vietnamense required a few things. First, someone to try to smuggle the plants in, but FAIL to do so successfully and get busted. Seized plants, maybe fines and jail time. But that doens't put the plants into the trade. It required government sanction and institutional involvement.

The logic for releasing P. vietnamense into the hobby was to drive down smuggling...if the plant is widely and freely available legally, the logic is that it's a disincentive over future smuggling..you take away the rewards. I know the flip side argument is that a legit trade can, conversely, be used to launder illegal animals into the trade that much easier.

All I can point to, in the end, is that outwardly, Blue Galacts may have in fact wound up here legally, using the same legal mechanisms that were used for this orchid species I keep citing. I DID buy Paph. vietnamense when they were first released because I knew it was government-sanctioned. I've NOT rushed out to buy Blue Galacts.

I wonder if Orchid Keepers around the world have had the same sorts of discussions when Paph. vietnamense was first exported from the US?!
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Old 06-21-2020, 02:33 PM
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Originally Posted by mpedersen View Post
But, that said, that is the argument around these "grey area" frogs and the Lacey Act. IF the animals were WILD, say wild Blue Galacts were smuggled to Germany, and then simply being re-exported to the US, it would be 100% illegal, and then when they're shipped to another state, the Lacey Act violation occurs.

It's the purported institutional captive-breeding and subsequent release to the hobby and then endorsement from the exporting country that changes the rules and eliminates violations.
No, per the sections of Lacey that I quoted earlier:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Socratic Monologue View Post
3371a1:
"It is unlawful for any person to import, export, transport, sell, receive, acquire, or purchase any fish or wildlife or plant taken, possessed, transported, or sold in violation of any law, treaty, or regulation of the United States or in violation of any Indian tribal law"

3371a:
" The term "fish or wildlife" means any wild animal, whether alive or dead, including without limitation any wild mammal, bird, reptile, amphibian, fish, mollusk, crustacean, arthropod, coelenterate, or other invertebrate, whether or not bred, hatched, or born in captivity, and includes any part, product, egg, or offspring thereof."
Offspring of smuggled animals are prohibited regardless of CITES. Plus, the idea that "endorsement" by Germany somehow negates Brazilian law is not credible.

CITES can't "make a species legal"; CITES can make a species legal qua CITES (well, CITES cannot make anything legal or illegal per se; CITES is an international treaty, and we need Lacey or ESA or some other legislation to enforce a treaty). There are numerous other laws that prohibit certain animals/species in and of themselves and under certain circumstances, and CITES does not override them. Per https://www.justice.gov/sites/defaul...0/usab6004.pdf cited earlier:

"The fundamental purpose of CITES is to prevent species from becoming extinct. The treaty reaches this goal by establishing a regulatory mechanism that monitors and, in some cases, prohibits trade in wildlife species that are considered to be at risk of extinction due to trade. The treaty’s drafters recognized that individual countries and their citizens would want to determine the use and protection of their own natural resources, including wild fauna and flora. Thus, CITES does not confer enforcement power on itself or on any other international organization. "

Also, USFWS was contacted and said contrary to your claim:


https://www.dendroboard.com/forum/sc...ml#post2984977
(Can't quote a quote, it seems, so cut and pasted, and emphasis added):

(quote)"The problem that the person trying to take that route runs into is that the original animals had to be legally acquired which means that they had to have been legally exported from Brazil to the EU....

There is no record of an export from Brazil nor an import of live animals to the Netherlands and the importer admitted that they were offspring of smuggled animals that were confiscated in his original posting which was subsequently sanitized.

This is pretty clear in CITES since for them to be exported from Brazil and then imported into the Netherlands Article IV of CITES requires
Quote:
2. The export of any specimen of a species included in Appendix II shall require the prior grant and presentation of an export permit. An export permit shall only be granted when the following conditions have been met:

(a) a Scientific Authority of the State of export has advised that such export will not be detrimental to the survival of that species;
(b) a Management Authority of the State of export is satisfied that the specimen was not obtained in contravention of the laws of that State for the protection of fauna and flora; and
(c) a Management Authority of the State of export is satisfied that any living specimen will be so prepared and shipped as to minimize the risk of injury, damage to health or cruel treatment.
And
Quote:
4. The import of any specimen of a species included in Appendix II shall require the prior presentation of either an export permit or a re-export certificate.
Under Article VI
Quote:
(iii) the State where removal from the wild occurred requires the prior grant of export permits before any export of such specimens; unless a Management Authority is satisfied that the specimens were acquired before the provisions of the present Convention applied to such specimens.
All of these criteria had to be met before that claim on captive breeding making it okay would be able to be applied. CITES itself notes that various countries do not adhere to the requirements regarding confiscated species and that it does not make those animals legal. To which I should again note that when I asked USFW specifically for a positional statement on the frogs descended from confiscated animals being legal under CITES and the US laws this was the response I received.

Quote:
Dear Edward,

Thank you for your follow-up inquiry.

If a given zoo receives illegally imported and/or confiscated CITES-listed specimens, then offspring from those specimens would not be legal to distribute within that country and could not be legally exported to other countries.

Thank you for your interest in our regulations that help protect fish, wildlife, and plants and their habitats. Please feel free to respond to this message with any further inquiries that you may have regarding this matter.
some comments

Ed" (end quote)

There is no "breaking the chain".

Quote:
Originally Posted by mpedersen View Post
IF the animals were WILD, say wild Blue Galacts were smuggled to Germany, and then simply being re-exported to the US, it would be 100% illegal, and then when they're shipped to another state, the Lacey Act violation occurs.
A minor point, but the Lacey Act prohibits possession also, not simply import and interstate commerce.
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Old 06-21-2020, 06:29 PM
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Default Re: Legal blue galacts?

Here is more:

According to CITES (bracketed notes mine, and emphasis added),

"All trade in this species[Adelphobates galactonotus] reported in the official CITES Trade Database since 1997 [no live trade is known before that date] is illegal, because no breeding stock (live specimens) of A. galactonotus has ever been exported legally from Brazil. According to CITES rules, all descendants of illegal breeding stock are also illegal."

https://cites.org/sites/default/file...C28-Inf-34.pdf

It simply does not get any more clear than this. All this 'gray area' handwaving and appeals to some secret 'rule' with not one bit of evidence cited for any one of the claims from @mpedersen add up to nothing.
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Old 06-21-2020, 10:24 PM
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Default Re: Legal blue galacts?

Kind of an apology here -- I knew about this other thread, and have read a bunch of it in the past; looking back at (parts of) it, it seems as if all the current considerations have been addressed there:

https://www.dendroboard.com/forum/sc...gal-frogs.html

TL,DR: galacts of any color are not legal for possession in the US and will not be in the foreseeable future.
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Old 06-22-2020, 12:11 AM
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Originally Posted by mpedersen View Post
It took Taron only two minutes to pull up the CITES rule that effectively breaks the connection to the wild origins and ultimate foundation population in Brazil, and thus appears to nullify the implications of the Lacey Act.
I would like to say this as clearly, and as simply as possible: BRAZIL DOES NOT LEGALLY ALLOW THE EXPORT OF ITS NATIVE FLORA AND FAUNA. This has been brought up many times in the past, and if you search DB you can probably find links to the actual law in the native Portuguese. You can't even get orchid pollen from Brazil, because they are so protective; it's absurd that IBAMA, the Brazilian authority that oversees the environment and renewable natural resources, would make an exception for Taron.

You can argue whatever you want about the legality of tincs morphs, since they occur in other countries in South America, that have their own export laws. However, galactonotus is endemic to Brazil. The only POSSIBLE way for someone to get their hands on these frogs is to illegaly poach them from them wild, and then illegally smuggle them out of the country. Even Brazilians are not allowed to own these frogs.

The USA law is absolutely clear about situations like this -- animals (and their progeny) that are illegally removed from their origins, are illegal in the USA as well.

It would make me very happy if someone could produce the Brazilian paperwork that proves that these animals are legal. It would shut everyone up once and for all, and no fuddy-duddy stick in the muds would have to lose any sleep over the subject, ever again. But no one has ever produced such paperwork, because these papers do not exist.

And if someone thinks that they are above the laws of both countries... whatever. But the fact is that if anyone purchases these types of frogs, they directly rewarding poachers "with their wallets". If you think that owning an elephant tusk is wrong, or that having a panda pelt rug is wrong, you should also feel that owning these frogs is wrong. Those who purchase these frogs are putting money right into the hands of illegally poachers; they are directly enabling illegal activity.
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Old 06-22-2020, 02:16 AM
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Default Re: Legal blue galacts?

I have a few quick questions. So although this conversation is about blue could this be applied to all galacts? Because most if not all were illegally taken. And can someone explain how CITES and the Lacey act “interact” with each other? So if there truly was no CITES infraction or whatnot wouldn’t the Lacey act still make them illegal in the US. Thanks for your guy’s time. This has been really informative
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Old 06-22-2020, 02:49 AM
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I have a few quick questions. So although this conversation is about blue could this be applied to all galacts? Because most if not all were illegally taken. And can someone explain how CITES and the Lacey act “interact” with each other? So if there truly was no CITES infraction or whatnot wouldn’t the Lacey act still make them illegal in the US. Thanks for your guy’s time. This has been really informative
Yes, to all galacs; all are illegal in the US.

CITES is an international treaty. The Lacey Act is a piece of federal legislation that enforces CITES, all state and local laws, and all wildlife laws of all other nations.

Yes, there can be a Lacey violation without a CITES violation.
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Old 06-22-2020, 04:01 AM
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Default Re: Legal blue galacts?

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Yes, there can be a Lacey violation without a CITES violation.
This is usually taken advantage of by Europeans, as local laws there do not make it illegal for them to own poached animals, or the progeny thereof. This is actually why you'll see illegally obtained species popping up there first. The main avenue for bringing poached animals into the USA is by laundering them through Europe.
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Old 06-22-2020, 06:49 AM
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Default Re: Legal blue galacts?

OK, I'm not going to bother with a point-by-point debate simply for time and avoiding clutter.

The Galact document you cited on the CITES website is an OPINION. Once again, disclaimed by CITES itself in the following manner:

"The geographical designations employed in this document do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the CITES Secretariat (or the United Nations Environment Programme) concerning the legal status of any country, territory, or area, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries. The responsibility for the contents of the document rests exclusively with its author."

Sadly, this all hangs on the FWS response which is already invalidated by the FWS themselves.

"If a given zoo receives illegally imported and/or confiscated CITES-listed specimens, then offspring from those specimens would not be legal to distribute within that country and could not be legally exported to other countries."

NOT TRUE.

If this were true, then EVERY CITES APPENDIX I Paphiopedilum vietnamense would remain illegal. The FWS could not have legally introduced them into the US trade, nor have agreed to their legal export as documented via CITES year after year, as documented by the CITES database itself.

I don't know if this link will work, but here's the undeniable truth that a CITES Appendix I species was exported from the US repeatedly, despite all originating from smuggled broodstock - Vietnamense report


Since it was very high-profile, I never questioned the release of P. vietnamense. However, I always wondered how the FWS was able to release P. vietnamense in the manner that they did. All it took was Taron pointing me to a couple paragraphs to show me the mechanism by which it happened. If it works for the plant, it kinda has to work the same way for the animal.

You may not like it, you may fundamentally disagree with it...but as I stated prior, if Blue Galacts and "Peacock Tincs" followed the same general pathways as P. vietnamense did, then they are probably here legally.

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Old 06-22-2020, 11:50 AM
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Default Re: Legal blue galacts?

Boy, if one apparent exception to a law invalidates that law every time, the world is gonna be a strange place...

I guess I hope that reasonable people will look to the mass of considerations that point to one answer (i.e. the violation of import laws; the text of the Lacey Act; clear and simple statements by both USFWS representatives and US wildlife attorneys -- most of which have been cited here) rather than to the other (i.e. one allegedly analogical case [Ed has pointed out in the illegal frogs thread that USFWS treats plants and animals differently, so this looks, without further information, like a possible false analogy], and a supposed CITES rule that somehow undermines clear statements from USFWS and the text of Lacey).

I hope that reasonable people will accept that not everything that USFWS does is in fact legal. Astonishingly, sometimes government agencies get it legally wrong, and sometimes those wrongs continue, and are accepted, for incredibly long periods of time without anyone saying boo about it. We do, in fact, have an entire system of courts that is largely dedicated to sorting out just these sorts of legal questions, but only those that someone takes the time to bring to trial, which likely no one will ever do for a plant, and likely no one will ever do for P. vietnamense because of the optics of such a case (such a case would look for all the world like an attempt to undermine endangered species protections, and who would spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to make such a confused point?).

I hope that reasonable people will understand that exceptions are usually just, well, exceptions, and that nothing more hangs on them. There is not one interesting argument to be made that doesn't have some conflicting evidence to account for, but to take that bit of conflicting evidence as the total determinant of the question is simply unhinged (and is grounded in a quite popular logical fallacy) -- that just isn't how inquiry works.
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Old 06-22-2020, 01:58 PM
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Default Re: Legal blue galacts?

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You may not like it, you may fundamentally disagree with it...but as I stated prior, if Blue Galacts and "Peacock Tincs" followed the same general pathways as P. vietnamense did, then they are probably here legally.
Mpedersen, the only way that the blue galactonotus reached any place outside its country of origin, is through illegal means. If there is any evidence to the contrary, it would lay this discussion to rest.
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Old 06-22-2020, 03:36 PM
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Default Re: Legal blue galacts?

So, I stumbled on this thread,. read through all the posts, then did some reading on CITES and LACY Act.

Bottom line, ALL Adelphobates Galatonotus are illegal in the US?!?! Pretty sad when you look at all the breeders selling them. I even have some that I bought from a "reputable Dart Frog breeder", and was planning on buying some Blue Galacs (I love the color blue, and these guys are striking!).

Anyway, so according to the CITES and Lacy Act,.. everyone that is currently breeding and selling ANY Galactonotus, is in violation of the law,.... that would put most if not all of the Dart Frog breeders on the internet out of business fast!

You can't have it both ways,.. advocate breeding / selling one color morph while damming another when they both fall under the same laws as a species / sub-species. Just my POV I guess.

I'll be doing more research into this in any case.
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Old 06-22-2020, 03:48 PM
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Default Re: Legal blue galacts?

Personally, my opinion is you should not keep anything that might get everything else confiscated (no matter how small the odds).

That is just common sense.

But many of us would take it a step further and say that ethically, we're not going to keep anything that the "host" country has said has never left their country legally.

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... that would put most if not all of the Dart Frog breeders on the internet out of business fast!
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Old 06-22-2020, 04:10 PM
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Unhappy Re: Legal blue galacts?

Well it just got confirmed to me. A long time frogger and member of Dendroboard who has dealt with Taron in the past has just confirmed to me that Patrick Nabors did in fact acquire his blue galacts from Taron. I have a feeling that Taron either lied about the zoo thing, or Patrick just doesn't care now and just made the whole thing up. Either way, who knows what other illegal frogs Saurian has already.
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Old 06-22-2020, 04:45 PM
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Default Re: Legal blue galacts?

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Well it just got confirmed to me. A long time frogger and member of Dendroboard who has dealt with Taron in the past has just confirmed to me that Patrick Nabors did in fact acquire his blue galacts from Taron. I have a feeling that Taron either lied about the zoo thing, or Patrick just doesn't care now and just made the whole thing up. Either way, who knows what other illegal frogs Saurian has already.
That’s disappointing. I wish I had known about all this before I bought my galacts. I didn’t know at the time all of them were illegal. Either way it’s good to actually know what is going on with the blue galacts.
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Old 06-22-2020, 04:54 PM
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Default Re: Legal blue galacts?

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Anyway, so according to the CITES and Lacy Act,.. everyone that is currently breeding and selling ANY Galactonotus, is in violation of the law,....
This would be correct. The reds did leave Brazil lawfully en route to US zoos, but then ended up in hobbyists hands against Brazil's wishes. I do not know how the yellows and oranges appeared. The blues are illegal in every sense of the word (if you live in the USA).

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Well it just got confirmed to me. A long time frogger and member of Dendroboard who has dealt with Taron in the past has just confirmed to me that Patrick Nabors did in fact acquire his blue galacts from Taron.
This wouldn't surprise me. I've been seeing many of the "big names" cozying up with Taron -- he's even a vendor/sponsor for Frog Day. It would make sense that they are doing so to get access to frogs that have been out of reach to them. For what it's worth, I hear Taron is actually a pretty nice guy...

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I have a feeling that Taron either lied about the zoo thing, or Patrick just doesn't care now and just made the whole thing up.
I'd imagine when they say "the zoo thing", they are really talking about the incident that happened decades ago with the reds. I think they reference the past event as exculpatory evidence that justifies any future poaching and smuggling.
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