The Last Word: 21st Century Wildlife Blog

The Last Word by Andrew Wyatt

Few issues fire the passion and regulatory zeal that wildlife does. Wildlife policy is as critical as it is contentious. Conservation, research,  business and environmental advocacy dovetail in a volatile brew of science, emotion and politics. Government, the environmental NGO’s, academics and private business all compete to have their interests recognized as priority points of view.

The Last Word by Andrew Wyatt

Welcome to The Last Word, where we will discuss wildlife issues with an eye toward constructive debate. Broader understanding of key issues will encourage effective communication with legislative and regulatory bodies. My goal is to facilitate the effective use of quality information and provide a framework for action. Some of the topics we will explore include:

  • Grass roots advocacy.
  • Conservation and fundraising.
  • Best management practices and accreditation.
  • Lacey Act, Endangered Species Act and CITES.
  • Permitting.
  • Branding and social media.
  • Lawsuits and public policy.

This is the only blog of it’s kind in the wildlife sector. Now in the 21st century, the fast and free exchange of ideas has never been easier. I encourage you to follow The Last Word and contribute to the discussion. Share it with your friends on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Together we can work through complex issues, and find practical solutions to real world problems. You can sign up to follow The Last Word by entering your email in the field provided in the margin to the right of this page.

Thank you for reading The Last Word. If you have ideas or concerns you would like to see addressed, please email me. I look forward to a spirited debate!

Lacey Act Listing Used to Limit Trade in Species: How you can succeed in today’s market.

“The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.” ~ Thomas Jefferson

63208ab5-08b1-45a9-b6c8-7dc026a87be0fullIn recent years the 113 year old Lacey Act has been turned into a one size fits all tool used arbitrarily by US Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) to limit trade in animal and plant species they hold in disfavor. As a conservation tool, the Lacey Act has proven cumbersome, rigid and ineffective. While it may be argued that continued import of certain species may not be necessary, Lacey also restricts interstate transport. Restricting interstate trade in exotic species that have been in the country for decades has little to no conservation value and seriously undermines legitimate business, research and conservation efforts.

The Lacey Act was originally passed into law in 1900 in order to control poaching of wild birds for the feathered women’s hat trade that flourished at the time. The act made it a felony to poach birds in one state and sell their feathers or parts across state lines. Over 264575_210697215640070_6306357_n5-300x225the years it has been amended over and over again into an ungainly, overcomplicated statute that has far overreached its original intent without providing practical value as a real conservation tool. FWS seeks to further expand powers by advocating further amendments and pushing new rules that would remove most of the due process in order to pursue mass listings of potentially hundreds of species at once. The current proclivity at FWS seems to be that anything non-native to the US is a danger.

The two most negatively impacted interests are vintage guitars and herpetoculture (closed system production of high quality reptiles & amphibians). In both cases, these interests are precluded from transporting their products across state lines because certain species of interest (wood for guitars and snakes for herpetoculture) have been listed on the Lacey Act. These animals and guitars, some of which have been in the US for decades, are land locked in the states in which they currently exist due to Lacey restrictions. Although in theory permitting is available, it is demanding and time consuming, with, in many cases, significant delays in processing by FWS.

It is clear that some of the actions by FWS regarding recent listings and rule changes areIC1111_CC380x300-resize-380x300 on a shaky legal foundation. Unfortunately the inability or unwillingness of pertinent trade associations to challenge these actions in federal court have emboldened FWS to take ever increasingly aggressive action toward the mass listing of hundreds of additional species. This leaves responsible business owners on their own in the face of an increasingly difficult business environment.

On the bright side, there is real potential to streamline the permitting process for interstate transport and export, in some cases the opportunity to obtain blanket permitting, and avoid costly shipping delays whether shipping is to another state, or for export to Europe and Asia. I am in a position to help vintage guitar dealers and animal professionals to navigate the maze of government bureaucracy. Whether you are a zoo or aquarium, research facility, or a private business, I can likely save you time and money.

Andrew Wyatt Joins Vitello Consulting

Panorama of the US Capitol Building with its Reflection on Water at Night

“It is not just what you know, but who you know that ensures success navigating the corridors of Washington, DC” ~ Andrew Wyatt

Andrew Wyatt joins Vitello Consulting after serving as CEO of non‐ profit advocacy organizations for almost a decade. In 2008, his passion for wildlife led him to become

vitello-logoone of the founders of the United States Association of Reptile Keepers (USARK), the leading trade association in the United States advocating for responsible ownership and trade in reptiles. As CEO of USARK, Andrew is credited with pioneering advocacy for herpetoculture, the captive propagation of high quality reptiles and amphibians. His work at USARK also included development of a large grassroots component known as the “Reptile Nation”. Today it is estimated that the reptile industry generates roughly $1.2 billion in annual revenues.

As a recognized expert in his field, the U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. Senate, federal agencies, and state and municipal governments routinely call upon Andrew to provide advice and counsel and expert testimony.

Andrew Wyatt Joins Vitello Consulting

Andrew Wyatt Joins Vitello Consulting

Andrew has also done extensive media on the subject matter and has been featured in both national print and radio throughout the last decade.

Andrew’s formative years drew him to politics at an early age. His grandfather was a State Representative in New Mexico and also served as the president of the NM Cattlemen’s Association. His father was a high‐ranking Army officer, whose final duty station was in Washington, D.C. Dinner table conversation “inside the beltway” consisted of geopolitical debate, and hosting important political figures and military brass was standard fare.

In his down time, Andrew is an avid outdoorsman and enjoys falconry and hunting dogs. He is also a fitness buff and has been engaged in the martial arts and endurance sports for many years.

Andrew serves on the Board of Directors of the non‐profit conservation organization, US Herpetoculture Alliance.

AndrewWyatt
Vitello Consulting
andrew@vitelloconsulting.com