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Wild animals out of control… Concerns about ecosystem disturbance and disease spread

As a result of the reptile evaluation, 7% were ‘unable to be imported’… Research on mammals, etc., will begin by next month

bearded lizard

bearded lizard

(Seoul = Larose.VIP) Reporter Hong Jun-seok = In May last year, a turtle weighing 6 kg was discovered in a farm waterway in Gimcheon-si, Gyeongsangbuk-do.

It was a wolf turtle with a long tail like a wolf.

It was an object believed to have been raised by an individual and then abandoned.

Young turtles have a small shell of less than 10 cm, but adult turtles can grow up to 50 cm in length. In the wild, an individual weighing up to 39 cm has been found.

It is difficult to raise them as they grow larger, so they are often abandoned.

There are 15 wolf turtles discovered in the natural ecosystem over the three years from 2019 to 2021, and 9 were transported to the Korea Animal Rescue Management Association in April last year alone.

Wolf turtles are listed in Annex II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and can be traded only after obtaining an import/export permit. However, they are also a species that disrupts the ecosystem in Korea.

Even herons, which are considered the strongest in the domestic river ecosystem, attack by biting when they enter their territory, and their jaw force is about 400 kg, similar to that of a tiger. There is still no natural enemy in the country that can handle this kind of territoriality and aggression.

A wolf turtle discovered in an agricultural waterway in Gimcheon-si, Gyeongsangbuk-do in May last year.

A wolf turtle discovered in an agricultural waterway in Gimcheon-si, Gyeongsangbuk-do in May last year.

According to the Ministry of Environment on the 18th, the Ministry of Environment is creating a white list of wild animal imports to prevent the destruction of the ecosystem and the spread of zoonotic diseases caused by the increasing abandonment of companion animals.

The white list, which will be introduced in December 2025 in accordance with the Wildlife Act revised in December 2022, classifies wild animals that are not under statutory management and are in a management blind spot as ‘designated managed wild animals’ and regulates their import, sale, and possession. It’s a system.

There are approximately 19,670 (59.8%) of the 32,880 species of wild animals that are not subject to legal management because they are not classified as endangered or ecosystem-disturbing species. In terms of population, it is said that about 85% are in management blind spots.

The main reason why wild animal import management is necessary is to prevent the spread of zoonotic diseases and protect the ecosystem.

The sugar cane toad, an amphibian native to Central and South America that was introduced as a pet to the United States since the 1950s, has recently become common in Florida and is assessed to pose a threat to the ecosystem due to its strong toxicity.

The sugar cane toad was introduced to Australia in 1935 to eradicate beetles that eat sugar cane, and has a history of driving Australian freshwater crocodiles to the brink of extinction.

Sugarcane Toad

Sugarcane Toad

In 2022, a case was reported in the United States where a bearded gecko, also known as a beardie, transmitted salmonella to humans. This case received particular attention because 57% of those infected were children under 5 years of age.

Countries that first introduced the white list include Belgium, the Netherlands, Norway, Croatia, Luxembourg, and Malta.

The Ministry of Environment plans to order a research service to create a white list by next month and complete the list within this year, but research on reptiles, the most traded taxon in Korea, has already been completed.

According to the report ‘Establishment of a White List of Designated Management Wild Animals (Reptiles)’ submitted by the National Institute of Biological Resources in November last year, the number of reptiles imported over the past five years (2018-2022) averaged 264,240 per year.

As the size of the companion animal market is expected to grow from 4.5 trillion won last year to 6 trillion won in 2027, the number of reptiles being traded is expected to increase.

There are 1,017 species of reptiles distributed at home and abroad, of which 428 species (42.1%) were candidates for the white list that do not receive any legal management.

According to expert evaluation, among these, 88 species (20.6%) could be included in the white list, 311 species (72.7%) needed review, and 29 species (6.8%) could not be included.

The ‘No’ list includes the ‘South American wolf tortoise’, a closely related species to the wolf tortoise, the ‘North American swamp tortoise’, which is similar to the tortoise but is highly aggressive and has the potential to spread diseases, and the ‘Nolan gecko’, which lacks overall species information.

Radish radish sold overseas was also judged unacceptable due to the possibility of lowering genetic diversity by hybridizing with plants that grow naturally in Korea.

non-autonomous

non-autonomous

Ultimately, the white list will be created based on an evaluation of six criteria, including ‘animal welfare and breeding difficulty’, ‘safety’, ‘risk to public health’, ‘risk to ecosystem’, and ‘risk to species conservation’.

The white list is likely to be created at the ‘genus’ level, which is a broader category than ‘species’. This is because the animal sales industry continues to raise concerns that the market may shrink due to excessive regulations.

If you trade wild animals that are not on the white list, you are subject to imprisonment for up to one year or a fine of up to 10 million won under Article 70 of the Wildlife Act.

Wild animals that have lost their owners will stay in protection facilities being built in Seocheon-gun, South Chungcheong Province, and Gurye-gun, Jeollanam-do.

An official from the Ministry of Environment said, “If import, sale, and possession are uniformly banned, the impact on the industry will be severe, so we are reviewing it from a complex perspective.”

Minister Han Hwa-jin inspecting wildlife protection facilities

Minister Han Hwa-jin inspecting wildlife protection facilities

honk0216@yna.co.kr

Report to KakaoTalk okjebo 2024/02/18 07:00 Sent

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