PIJAC Recommends Immediate Moratorium on Firebelly and Paddletail Newt Imports
The Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC) is recommending that all exporters, shippers, importers and buyers of Cynops orientalis (Firebelly) and Pachytriton labiatus (Paddletail) newts immediately establish a voluntary moratorium on importing them into the U.S.
The organization further recommends that all nonretail businesses engaged in the salamander trade regularly sanitize their facilities as a prophylactic measure, as treatments are developed, out of an abundance of caution.
PIJAC, along with other organizations, have been in discussions with the U.S. government for more than a year concerning the Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans, or Bsal, fungus. This fungus, native to Asia, has impacted fire salamander populations in Belgium and the Netherlands, and there is concern that Bsal or other pathogens could make their way to the U.S. prior to any government action to stop it.
Government, industry, NGOs and academia are working to develop effective testing and treatment regimens. Until such time as these can be developed and distributed, the threat to the U.S. salamander population dictates that the responsible course of action is to temporarily suspend imports of Firebelly and Paddletail newts.
And, as always, please remind your customers that pets should never be released into the wild.
Should such a pathogen be introduced to the U.S., PIJAC fears that it could mean the end of responsible ownership of these animals entirely and pledges to continue to communicate with the industry about progress being made and announce when it is once again safe to import these newts, and what steps to take in order to do so safely.