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[Reposting this from the r/DartFrog subreddit as I now realise it isn't very active]

Hi all,

I'm based in France and am getting back into darts after a ten year break from the hobby. I have a viv set up and am about a month away from getting my frogs, but I am still undecided on the species.

When I was keeping frogs around a decade ago, I was really interested in E. mysteriosus (mysties), but it was quite a rare, expensive species. I was really surprised to discover how available and affordable this species is now.

A little bit of research has led me to understand that the species is illegal to trade in most countries outside of Europe - and that the Peruvian government has never allowed the species to be exported. Meaning that all CB stock in Europe is entirely of illegal origin.

A little bit of Googling will lead you to a number of threads on Dendroboard, where people are outraged that anybody would keep mysties. I don't know how to feel about this, for a number of reasons. And I would be really interested to hear others' thoughts:
  • Mysties are listed as endangered by the IUCN - and wild populations appear to be restricted to three small, fragmented sites. I am not sure what the Peruvian government are doing to help protect these frogs. Nonetheless, should it not be seen as a conservation success that this species is now so successfully represented within captive populations in Europe? Surely any future reintroduction efforts will be bolstered by the extensive knowledge we now have of how this species reproduces in captivity?
  • It is clearly wrong that the species was poached - but can we honestly say that this hasn't previously happened for other species, which are still freely traded and in fact coveted within the hobby?
  • Does purchasing captive bred individuals in Europe really lead to increased poaching of this species in Peru? And is there any evidence for this?
I'm not trying to incite outrage. I'm simply trying to understand what is morally wrong about owning mysties, as right now I am seriously considering purchasing a small group.

Appreciate any thoughts.
 

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Some threads for you to read... What can we practically do as hobbyists?
Sustainability and Captive Bred

The argument that they're already captive bred in Europe so it's not like we're causing more smuggling is not correct. The more highly sought after any item is the higher the likelihood that people will illegally obtain and sell them if they can make a buck or two.

Similarly, future reintroduction efforts will not be bolstered by hobbyist captive breeding. The work it takes to be allowed to legally introduce captive bred specimens to the wild is enormous. And this risks transmitting diseases from captivity to the wild.
 

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Searching this forum for the species name, and the word 'illegal' will give you as much info as is needed to answer your questions.

The species is illegal to own everywhere, because they have never been exported legally.

Thread is closed.
 
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