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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I may be beating a dead horse with this one, and it is actually a spin-off of a recent topic. But heck, let's have some fun.

I personally am against the purchase of wild caught animals. A close friend of mine is not. Now, I think that some importation is needed in order to allow breeders the chance to create offspring for sale in the captive bred population. But the numbers that are coming in bother me. And the losses as well. It pains me that anyone with a large sum of money can purchase large lots of wild caught animals. Now don't get me wrong there are some people who import 20-30 at a time and do really good things with these frogs. They feed them, and treat them well. Some do not. And with no fault to those importing, some of their orders which they have the best intentions with, come in Dead On Arrival. So I ask. Do we really need imported frogs at all? Is there a market for wild caught D. auratus? I know countless people who breed these wonderful frogs. Why is there a demand for them? Yes, pumilio are slow breeders. But I honestly would rather have a healthy captive bred specimen, than a stressed out wild caught with a possible large parasite load and a 50:50 chance of making it. So I am here to have a FRIENDLY argument. I am not here to point fingers and say person "X" is evil. I just want to have a mature, and hopefully fun discussion about the ethics of importation.
Ready?
GO!
 

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Well...without imports, we never would have had the frogs most of us are keeping now (obviously).
Without the recent imports, we most likely would never have a chance for CB's of some of the morphs we are getting now.
I kind of agree with you that so many are not needed, with the morphs that are already here, it might be just as well if we stopped importing them...but then again, if the animals are being produced...instead of caught...where is the harm done?
I agree...the amounts of auratus imports are kind of ridiculous...but if they are new morphs...I think we need to have some...but not thousands.
 
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I think that, ideally, each importation would be done on a case by case basis. The consequences of each importation varies by species, and even by region in the same species.

I recently heard an argument that imports are OK because if we don't get them, then the slash-and-burners will. The individual also seemed to imply that keeping CITES frogs out of the hobbiest's reach is counterproductive for the same reason.

In a better world (in a perfect world this wouldn't be an issue) a group of well educated purists would swarm the next basin of rain forest to be destroyed and remove all of the species possible out of harm's way, and that's where our imports would come from.

Instead, whatever healthy forest remains is normally plunderded for its plants and animals because of the high yield rates.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
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Well...without imports, we never would have had the frogs most of us are keeping now (obviously).
True enough Brian. But even you admit that we probably have reached our limit. Lydia makes an interesting point:
I think that, ideally, each importation would be done on a case by case basis. The consequences of each importation varies by species, and even by region in the same species.
I think that limits should be in place for wild caughts.

Dave
 

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Does that happen on any scale...I mean, conservationists working "with" the "enemy"...If not, maybee that would be the way to go...(In a perfect world where people accept other people's ways of life, and deal with, and make the most of it)
I'd be willing to bet, when those giant forests come down, tons of interesting things show up that you'd never see otherwize...
Don't get me wrong here, I'm not condoning deforestation on any scale, but the reality is, that it is going to happen sooner or later...all we can do is try to make "later" as late as possible...hopefully long enough for some of the already trashed habitat to grow back.
 

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Well, initially I did not want to contribute to this topic, as I feared that it would start an argument and people would go off telling me how my "mother's so fat that..." or some equivalent, but I have a lot to say on the issue.
First, don't take this the wrong way everybody, but I don't think that importing WC anything on the scales that we do it is not acceptable. Specifically regarding Dendrobatids, I think that we should not be importing any species in the numbers that we are actually importing and those that are imported should be distributed to experienced breeders who would then distribute OFFSPRING ONLY with documentation on genetics to hobbyist level individuals. Now I know, we all think we are experienced breeders who are going to save the rainforest by breeding as many dart frogs as possible or make a huge profit breeding them because we see a frog for sale for $200, but realistically, if we would like to preserve these species (at least genetically), we need to handle the breeding more responsibly.
Secondly, let me just point out that I am aware that this post is not very well written and/or organized, but i'm typing stuff as i think it, so I hope you can bear with me for a bit more...
Next, with importation of commonly available species of dart frogs (auratus, pumilio, etc.) it is completely unneccesary to bring these in to the country. THe only reason they are is because a few people have a selfish desire to put them in 10 gallon glass boxes to look at and the current breeding population in the united states is too small so the importers realized that they could make a quick buck at the expense of the wild populations of these creatures. It honestly sickens me to see WC A. callidryas (not a dart frog, I know...) for sale on the kingsnake ad's...these guys are VERY easy to breed in captivity (even someone like myself has been successful at it) so the need for them to be brought in as WC is in my humble opinion, zero.
I know, that people are probably thinking, "well, Ben, you idiot, we need new WC imports to preserve the genetics of these guys...we can't have a bunch of inbred frogs here! After all, the only ones left in a few years will be in the U.S.A. and europe at the rate their habitat is being destroyed."
While the second part may be true, I don't believe that this justifies the importation of animals. At the rate we are so irresponsibly breeding these frogs, their gene pool would be so damaged even if we had the entire population in the U.S.A. because people want to make a quick dollar...most (not all) breeders do not care much about the genetic purity of the animals as brother-sister matings are very common in the hobby.
I do agree, however, that this is the best of a bad job and that inbred frogs are better than WC ones being brought in, I just meant to say that if we imported every dart frog from central america that we would find a way to pollute their gene pool and nail the final nail in the coffin of the species. THis is not to say that they would not eventually go extinct in the wild due to coffee plantations or something, it just shifts the responsibility of the extinction on to hobbyists rather than farmers.
Honestly, i think the only solution is: education. This is, of course, a dream, and educating all of south america about how important their biodiversity is a non-reality. I figure, if we educated all of them, and everyone here (USA, not dendroboard) on proper, responsible breeding, we could have sustainable populations both here and in central america.
Anyway, I've lost the next few thoughts that were in my head, so i shoudl probably stop typing as I'm sure this post is longer than most of you would care to read...if i think up anything else I'll follow up.
Also, if you would like to take personal assaults on my mother, intelligence, physical appearance, lack of breeding experience, lack of education, etc. please do it via P.M. as I'm sure most of the casual readers on this website don't want to hear it.
THank you for reading, and I hope i contributed sufficiently to the topic.
~Ben
 

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I agree in that imports of frogs that are already well represented should stop, but what about frogs that are not well represented? What about D. mysteriosus, D. captiva, D. occulator, D. vanzolinii, D. speciosus, D. sirensis, and others? There's many, many morphs of even now common frogs like tincs, pumillio, and auratus that are not available. Who here doesn't want a blue jeans pumillio? I don't advocate importing so many of them that everyone that wants one can get one right away, but it would be nice to have at least small numbers coming in so that well known breeders can work with them.
 

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I am most likely in the minority with this opinion. But I think that opening imports of more frogs might actually help wild populations. Allowing SMALL numbers of rarer and more endangered species into the hobby legally would eventually kill a lot of the illegal smuggling of frogs into the country. The shippers might not have the best success rate with the pumilio, but can you imagine the success rate of the people smuggling them in film containers?

If they had begun to release a few hundred mysterious or any other of the endangered frogs ten years ago, would they still be smuggled in such large numbers today or would they be as common as leucs or auratus?
 
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Great topics Dave! I hope we can stay civil and have a good discussion on this. I think there are a couple misconceptions at the foundation of this discussion that must be addressed. I can't claim developing 100% of the ideas below, since I have been discussing this with a few people lately, but I'm sure that they won't mind :)

The first issue addresses the reasons of, goals for, and complexities related to this hobby (for lack of a better word). Some people imagine getting in these amazing wild caught frogs keeping them in captivity for a few years and then helping in some reintroduction project, when the source population becomes extinct. Let's just say that unless you want more auratus infesting Hawaii, this just ain't gonna work. Not many people want to admit it, but we keep frogs because we want to possess something of beauty. My absurd collection of hippity-hops does nothing except keep me happy and consume my paycheck. That said.... I would not have it any other way. Additionally, these are not easy animals to keep alive. I think we are all a little desensitized to the complexities of keeping these species. Their housing, feeding, health, and breeding requirements often baffle even the best keepers.

The second set of misconceptions is how these non-US bred frogs get into our hands. I will definitely tip-toe on this issue, but I can promise you that the export and import of Dendrobates is a business. People are not risking thousands of dollars for the nobility of thickening our bloodlines. Importing 30-40 pumilio is a money loosing venture at best. The only way to reduce the risk of loss the frogs must be quickly shipped out of their home country, into the importer's hands, into the 1-5 other hands that touch them, and then into your hands. For every hour that these frogs sit in their collection bucket or little solo cups, they get more dehydrated and hungry, making them more susceptible the bacterial, fungal, and parasitic threats that exist in their natural environment and are usually not a threat. Very few people keep these frogs long enough to even feed or stabilize them. So know what you are getting!

The third issue is the novelty of these imports. This is not the first import of pumilio of this scale. Not too long ago, a man creek-like pumilio flooded into this country from Costa Rica and Nicaragua. I'm currently in search of a male from these shipments, and, as of right now, there are none to be found. This flood of mans, bastis, and brunos is not novel, and everyone was just as excited and dedicated last time.

I guess the law of supply and demand dictates that the pumilio will keep coming. The cat is totally out of the bag and running around at this point. There are people who want pumilio and don't want to wait for those who have them to breed, raise, and overprice froglets in comparison to the "cheap" importation price. What bugs me the most is the quantity of auratus and tree frogs that have become the necessary casualties of these pumilio imports. They are basically packing peanuts. There are "vendors" selling amazing auratus (which people will be asking about in 2 years *mark my words*) that have never sold (nor even cared for) a dart frog. If someone can't spell Auratus or call Man Creeks "Strawberry Sweets," I am not going to buy frogs from them.

Wow... I think that's enough to fight about for a long while :) I apologize if I have railroaded to conversation in any way, but this has been bubbling up in me for a while. I just think the best way to deal with these import is educating people on exactly what they are buying, the risks involve, and what their dollar is supporting.
 

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I have one thing to say about all of this. If the exporter is conducting a legitimate business, and following the relevant laws, I feel that we have no business saying that we are going to shut down that business. That smacks of elitism, or using the power of government to squash the competition. I just don't see how telling some frog farmer or exporter/collector, who does this for a living, to go stuff it, is fair, or good conservation.
 

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Great topic

I think this is a great topic and i am firm believer that a controlled sustainable harvest of many of these species may be the only way some will continue to exist. By creating a commercial value and regulating give the local population a huge incentive to protect the habitat in which these animals live.
Unfortunately it is hard to believe there is any regulation regarding the collecting of the Pumilio in terms of how many of each morph is being pulled from the wild.
My guess would be no green ones have come in the last few shipments because they can't find any.
Mark
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
That smacks of elitism, or using the power of government to squash the competition. I just don't see how telling some frog farmer or exporter/collector, who does this for a living, to go stuff it, is fair, or good conservation
Well, when did anyone say that? While it is a controversial topic, I applaud that you have an opposing view. No one here is pointing fingers, we just wanted to have a friendly discussion on the topic of ethics of importation, that's it. I don't think anyone has an agenda. But clearly there are a few people who feel very strongly against the idea. Another topic is the local people collecting the frogs in the first place. If it put food in my son's mouth, I'd do it too. Environment be damned.


But as I see it, how is it good for the frogs being imported? Again why do we need to be importing these frogs? I am just taking a position and running with it, as I said earlier, lets have a friendly argument and have some fun.
Dave[/quote]
 
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Hello everybody. Everyone has great views and comments. We have no doubt touched emotions of people in regards to these creatures and their enviroments. I do not have alot of experience with PDF's but I have a desire to know as much as I can about these guys. Can you imagine how most of us would had to find this type of support group anywhere in the world twenty years ago? These forums are an excellent way to assist in the quality of life the frogs can have from us.

Being in Canada, our country makes it more difficult to import frogs or any living animal for that matter. I keep saltwater fish and only dream of being able to "collect" some of the magnificant species I see available in the US. Maybe for good reason. If our government makes it difficult to have these species in our posession, it may take the urge away to want these guys. The same goes for the saltwater trade in Canada. As I am sure many fellow Canadians will agree, as well as any American who has tried to ship across the 49th. Apparently we cannot keep the terroists out, but don't you dare bring a poison frog, or other creature or plant, accross with out filling out your life story on twenty page reports. :)


Here is an idea. Perhaps the zoos of the world should control the flora fauna trades. Lets think about this for a momment. They can profit to improve their studies, and displays, and perhaps only those who pay for education or training through their institutions can qualify to obtain permits to purchase, house and breed these or any other creature, which the zoo's would be the only supplier of certain important creatures. Of course this is extreme. With a bit of fine tuning, can be a very positive program for many of us people who think we should have the right to own such beautiful creatures. I would pay to learn more from the experts. would you?
 

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ED's_Fly_Meat_Inc said:
Well, when did anyone say that? While it is a controversial topic, I applaud that you have an opposing view.
Merriam-Webster Online said:
eliitism-
2 : the selectivity of the elite; especially : SNOBBERY 1 <elitism in choosing new members>
I think people who already have "coveted" frogs, most likely imported frogs, or captive bred from a five mile long waiting list, condemning new imports, smacks of elitism. And if it doesn't, then we need a new definition of elitisim. Why, as long as whoever is doing the exportation is operating legitimately, should we shut down someone who is just trying to make a living. Keep shutting down every legitimate business people have and all they are left with is slash and burn.
 

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dreamweefer said:
Here is an idea. Perhaps the zoos of the world should control the flora fauna trades. Lets think about this for a momment. They can profit to improve their studies, and displays, and perhaps only those who pay for education or training through their institutions can qualify to obtain permits to purchase, house and breed these or any other creature, which the zoo's would be the only supplier of certain important creatures. Of course this is extreme. With a bit of fine tuning, can be a very positive program for many of us people who think we should have the right to own such beautiful creatures. I would pay to learn more from the experts. would you?
...Well, to be honest with you I have never seen a zoo exhibit look very convincing...rock walls that look like somebody's fireplace...Snake cages with newspaper on the floor...turtles crawling around in wood shavings...the list goes on and on. (maybee I just go to the wrong zoos :lol: )
With numerous hobbiests in every state (outnumbering the zoos by a good margin) There are a lot more minds independent doing "research" if you will, with the hobby the way it is. I think with the hobby being limited by zoos more than likely what would happen is the resident herp guy would have to work darts into his/her schedule.
Also, just because an institution is well known and respected doesn't mean they know beans about darts...For example...while shopping for a new frog calender this year, I was looking at one produced by a very respected magazine...out of twelve pictures, I spotted at least two of them that were mislabled...I immediatly lost a lot of respect for the magazine, and refused to buy the calender.
I could see you're point of view though, It would be nice to be certain every frog that is imported ends up in the hands of a knowledgable breeder that can make the most of the new genes...I think that most of us (outside of those here that do work for zoos) probably know more about darts than than almost any zoo's reptile guy.

We don't "need" the imports...any more than we "need" a shiny car. If you never heard about the different frogs...you'd never "need" them. If you feel you "need" something different, maybee you could take the money spent on vivs, frogs, flies, lights, water filtration, plants, paper towels and etc. on a plane ticket and just experience something different...but only if you "need" to!

That being said...I'm all for imports on a "practical" scale, and still cant wait for the INIBCO project to come through!
 

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Why, as long as whoever is doing the exportation is operating legitimately, should we shut down someone who is just trying to make a living. Keep shutting down every legitimate business people have and all they are left with is slash and burn.
thats an interesting point, however in this case I dont think if the farms shut down in panama, the frog farmer will be out of work and will have to resort to slash and burn. I think its more of a secondary source of income. I'll counter your argument with this ; should we continue to support a bussiness, even if "legit" knowing that it was damaging wild populations/local ecology of a region. By supporting this bussiness is it better to avoid slash and burn at the expence of the frogs? When all of the frogs are gone, or any other valuable harvestable commodities, the only value left in the forest is often in timber, or in slash and burn. harveting has to be done in a sustainable manner, and only then is it beneficial in the long run to the local people, to us in the hobby and potentially from a conservation standpoint. unfortunately for example in peru frog collecting by locals around tarapoto and chazuta is common. It is not hard to buy fantasticus from the locals if one so desired, what is becoming increasingly difficult (in some areas, most easily accessible) is finding them in the wild, signs of collecting pressures are obvious in some ares we just visited, and once healthy populations of orange imitator, now largely wiped out, as the majority of the heliconia stands hacked down to collect the pairs residing in the sheath. Its really a sad by product of a hobby we all enjoy, that by attaching the idea monetary value to these animals we have opened the doors to exploition, and unfortunately, the locals, who IMHO have more right to make money off these frogs than anyone else are not getting a fair shake, when the smugglers pay between 1-5 sols (. 35-1.65$) for a frog that the smugglers will sell for far far far more.

whats the solution, a step would be a sustainable program where revenues are dispersed to the locals creating an incentive to keep the forest and the frogs for future generations, INIBICO looked promising. but for people often living a day to day basis its hard to think to the future.

Unfortunately, even if the rarest frogs became readily available in captivity, as long as it has a decent market value, there will be those looking to exploit them illegally (smuggle) and there will be those willing to purchase them. reticulatus and intermedious for example large numbers were recently offered for sale by a certain individual in europe...lets just say they were not cb.

Discussions like this are important, and its a good topic Dave. And I agree largely that there is already so much avaiable that no one could possibly keep all morphs available...its excitng to get new morphs, but my opinion is that it should be done responsibly, and not by supporting the work of smugglers. Atleast in the panamanian process attempts were made to do this the legal route with CITES papers, and through the proper (legal) modes of exportation, (and that some of the people involved in the initial imports worked hard to get this going, and are good people, however the situation seem now a little out of control) more than can be said for all the new quinq group frogs that arrive in europe every so often. However i think the numbers of auratus coming in is riduculous...I bet Joe is right though, 2-3 years from now people will likely be looking/struggling to make prs of them.

sadly like everything else in life there is no perfect solution.

to sum up my feelings, as much as i enjoy frogs in vivaria, I get a far bigger thrill out of seeing them in the forest. Show me a sustaiable, locally equitable, legal, and fair import program and i would gladly support it.

Dreamweefer regarding importation into Canada, for CITES II animals its not any more complicated than any other countery, its actually quite easy comparatively speaking as canada doesn't require an import permit as many european and asian countries do. All we require is an export permit from the country of origin, and that is where the problem/difficulty often lies, Finding a breeder with the proper paperwork, or the desire to go through the rigours of the application process. The inspection and customs clearance is a straightforward procedure, paying the tax on import is the most painful part.

its late, so i hope this made sence. great posts everyone.
mark
 

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I would also like to add, that while i dont feel it's neccesary for imports of the same morphs (pumilio) to continue at the rates they are, I think that its a good thing that some experienced people are buying from the importers as shipments arrive, and getting frogs into adequate care, and even sexing out prs for clients, this should hopefully help ensure these will be around long after the exports cease .
 
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Rarity: (n) the state of being rare; thing valued for its scarcity

The problem I see with the imports is the fact that the importer is being forced to buy other frogs like auratus. How many people here have bought auratus on a 10 to 1 ration to the pumilio? For everyone that buys 20 pumilio there are 200 auratus sitting somewhere. It does bother me, and I have no problem being an elitist if that means I care for the auratus dieing so someone new to the hobby can have a pumilio.

Why are the pumilio so much more coveted than the auratus? Because before the imports pumilio were rare! It has been a driving force in all of us at one point. People will always want what they can't have. I just hate to see animals suffer so we can keep frogs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Also

I have no problem being an elitist if that means I care for the auratus dieing so someone new to the hobby can have a pumilio.
Well said.

Lots of frogs in central america are suffering massive deaths at the hands of not man, but Chitrid. Speaking to Justin Yeager last night, he is disappointed that so many Atelopus are gone due to chitrid. It's a real threat, and puts the captive bred hobby at risk, no question about it.
 

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Hi guys,

Very interesting topic...I apologize for my long piece but I think the question of importation of endangered animals for the pet trade such as dart frogs goes hand in hand with conservation and good hobby practices.

The hard fact about exotic animals is that it is usually an endemic species of a certain location. There is no locale that can simply keep on supplying any growing world demand.

With the population of people growing all over the world, demand will keep on growing for any animal trade. There are more hobbyists today than 10 years ago. If animals don't go to the hobbyists, they eventually go to some function that we can come up with- food, zoos, oranaments? Even if we don't find any use for them, well, we sure have use for their habitat...wood, land, water. Strain on any species is actually a combined effort by us people to make effecient use of any natural resource out there.

How do we help in conservation?
1. Awareness
2. Education
3. Alternative livelihood
4. Sustainable harvest
5. Protection of Habitat
6. Flora and Fauna Reintroduction

Awareness and Education, luckily is on the way yet is still not enough. More and more people are aware of the stress we put on our environment. More non-governmental organizations are playing an active role in teaching people about conservation.

Alternative Livelihood. How can you tell a family of 5 to stop hunting these animals and earn a days wage when they don't have anything to eat? Furthermore, what will they do if they don't hunt? It's what they've been doing all of their lives.

Good government control and effective control of illegal smuggling to give any species time to regenerate.

Habitat Protection and flora / fauna reintroduction unfortunately are the 2 most important things yet are one of the toughest to do.

I see that Dendroboard is a very good start to this though. When people with a common passion can come together to discuss and help a hobby improve. This serves as an important foundation on any future habitat protection and reintroduction of the species into the wild.

People here seem to have a good success rate in breeding dendros. This is a big factor. You guys are really at the position to grow the population and each member has the responsibility to keep the species alive and protect the gene pool as much as you can. Don't get into dendros out of impulse. Strive for a conscious effort to disallow brother sister inbreeding. Take the extra effort to find a different lineage when mating your frogs. I think this can really help sustain the current hobby population (at least for some of the species) therefore would eventually minimize / elliminate any need for imported specimens.

We are aware of the pitfalls of bad hobby practices like inbreeding for the sake of breeding and creating our man made variants. We've learned this time and time again from a lot of the other hobbies out there. From fish to snakes to dogs. Now that we know better, why continue on making the same mistakes? We are dealing with an endangered species and we can't afford to destroy the lines that we currently have and justify for any further bulk importation of such a delicate species.

I was watching National Geographic the other day regarding keeping of big cats in the U.S. There are, in fact, more tigers now in the U.S. that are kept as pets than there are in the wild. We may not notice it...but for all we know, 10 years down the line, there may already be more dendros in the U.S. than in the forests of South America and if we don't trust the genetic lines that we have, well, these frogs are as good as dead.

So is importation necessary? I honestly think if we as hobbyist will not be able to multiply the species then importation should be stopped and natural habitat protection should be enforced at all cost. But if responsible hobbyists can and are able to multiply the species and execute good practices, then importation for their needs can be allowed in a controlled manner to help the wild in regenerating the population.

Just my 2 cents.

regards,

bing
 
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