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  #11 (permalink)  
Old 27-06-2011, 02:05 AM
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Originally Posted by mikeyb View Post
This is the response to the email that i sent defra a while back about capturing some grass snakes for one season videoing the breeding to prove ther CB and hence possible to sell in the uk. Email returned was quite interesting seems like the videoing etc was a bit OTT its possible to get a licence


Thank you for your email of 27 May about the UK grass snake (Natrix natrix).

Natrix natrix is listed on Schedule 5 to the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and is subject to the protection given by sections 9(1) and 9(5) of the Act. This means that if any person does any of the following to the grass snake, he or she shall be guilty of an offence:

· intentionally [or recklessly] kills, injures or takes such an animal
· sells, offers or exposes for sale, or has in his possession or transports for the purpose of sale, any live or dead wild animal of this species, or any part of, or anything derived from, such an animal; or
· publishes or causes to be published any advertisement likely to be understood as conveying that he buys or sells, or intends to buy or sell, any of those things.

Other parts of section 9 of the Act do make it an offence to possess certain species listed on Schedule 5, but this does not apply to Natrix natrix. It would therefore be lawful to keep a specimen of the species Natrix natrix.

I note from your letter that you intend to take some grass snakes from the wild for the purpose of captive breeding. The only way to do this without breaking the law would be to apply to the Wildlife and Licensing Team at Natural England for a licence. You can apply by visiting the following website, downloading an application form and following the instructions:
http://www.naturalengland.org.uk/ourwork/regulation/wildlife/

Alternatively you can write to:
Wildlife Licensing Unit
Natural England
First Floor
Temple Quay House
2 The Square
Bristol
BS1 6EB
Tel: 0845 601 4523 (local rate)
Email: [email protected]

The application and licence are free.


Yours sincerely

Kevin Woodhouse
Defra – Customer Contact Unit
Hmmm.... the first part of that e-mail is interesting... it implies that "taking" a Grass snake would be illegal, not just "intentionally killing or injuring"... all responses I have received thus far, and all my research has said otherwise, and that Natrix natrix is only partially covered by section 9(1) of Schedule 5 (i.e. killing or injuring), and not "taking".

There's a list here of all species covered by Scheduled 5 and to what extent they are protected: Naturenet: Schedule 5 Animals

(You'll notice there are other species further down the list that more specifically cite "killing, injuring or taking" - the first one is Alosa alosa, the Allis Shad, but there are others where it specifically notes only "taking" is illegal - for example Austropotamobius pallipes).

This list dates from 2005, but there have been no amendments that I am aware of on the status of Natrix natrix, Lacerta vivipara, Anguis fragilis or Vipera berus since 1988.

This is a more recent (2010) list of all species protected by section 9(1) - b of Schedule 5; none of the above four species are on it. Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 | Schedule 5 Section 9.1 (taking) | UK Legislation | Wildlife Protection | UKWildlife

Obviously this directly concerns me as I've been keeping (and breeding) a pair of Grass Snakes since 2008 and have been told categorically that what I am doing is in no way illegal... It could be the act has been amended this year (or is about to be amended) which I doubt (in any event, I would assume that specimens "taken" before this amendment would still be legal - no doubt as long as it could be "proven" this is true; or Kevin Woodhouse has either omitted or overlooked the fact that up until now Natrix natrix is only under partial protection by section 9(1)...

However, I am going to have to confirm this again as I have no wish to break any laws; I'd suggest you point this out to Kevin Woodhouse as well and see how he replies...

Regards,
Francis
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  #12 (permalink)  
Old 27-06-2011, 07:47 AM
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im gonna see if they have an email address to email them to find out the legalities im assuming that once uve got said licence its then a case of enough proof to show and babies produced are cb and that they can then be sold, Yes this could have implications that people start removing wild snakes to breed themselves but i dont think the licence will be something easily come by also this will eventually have the opposite effect if you can buy a natrix natrix legally paperwork the lot who would then risk taking one potentially illegally from the wild.
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Old 27-06-2011, 12:08 PM
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hey Thrasops just wondering what were u planning on doing if this all works out wat i was looking to do was breed a load legall trade them legally but what im thinking of doing no is if i can get a license somehow verify u as part of the prodject so wed have to gene pools to work from, so we dont end up with a stagnant gene pool so to spk and will also mean no more wildies have to be taken until the gene pool needs refreshing. This all depending on how many we get successfully breeding. i was then planning on putting all the wildies back so there only kept for one or 2 seasons. im just thinking outside the box here how we can have a healthy gene pool without taking mroe than needed from the wild then swapping them all about a bit to mix them up even more. If i do ever decide to go into the sale of these though it will be at lower prices than corns etc part of the reason of doing this is to make it basically not worth taking the time to catch a wild one when a cb one is cheap
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  #14 (permalink)  
Old 27-06-2011, 12:55 PM
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I would look at the license application process in a little more detail before you get too excited.
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Old 27-06-2011, 01:13 PM
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I think you've over simplified almost every part of this. From the over simplification of the entire breeding process to the ramifications of the end result (if you actually manage to pull off the first part).

The sites I visit where grass snakes are struggling are a result of habitat destruction or (mis / over)-management. I think you're trying to solve a problem that doesn't exist (if you think everyone's out collecting them).

For the sake of wild populations I think they are best kept as a fringe species in the hobby.
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Old 27-06-2011, 06:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeyb View Post
hey Thrasops just wondering what were u planning on doing if this all works out wat i was looking to do was breed a load legall trade them legally but what im thinking of doing no is if i can get a license somehow verify u as part of the prodject so wed have to gene pools to work from, so we dont end up with a stagnant gene pool so to spk and will also mean no more wildies have to be taken until the gene pool needs refreshing. This all depending on how many we get successfully breeding. i was then planning on putting all the wildies back so there only kept for one or 2 seasons. im just thinking outside the box here how we can have a healthy gene pool without taking mroe than needed from the wild then swapping them all about a bit to mix them up even more. If i do ever decide to go into the sale of these though it will be at lower prices than corns etc part of the reason of doing this is to make it basically not worth taking the time to catch a wild one when a cb one is cheap
I'll be honest, I keep my pair for the simple fact that I like them, and find them interesting to watch... I have no intention of keeping any more, and I have no intention of going "commercial" with them; I never sell any of the ones I do breed and don't plan to in the future. I have the vague notion of passing around any more offspring I get for free between serious keepers, but that's the extent of my involvement so far as a concerted effort to create a captive population goes.

I have said before it would be nice to have more of these as CB, but I don't believe this is best accomplished by just taking a bunch of them from the wild all at once and hoping they will breed, especially if they are all from the same area, and I would urge anybody else not to try this... I've already heard stories of other people simply catching up as many Grass snakes as they can either for "relocation" or with the wild notion of creating a "huge captive colony". It's an idea I totally disagree with.

My opinion is that somebody wanting to try the species taking just one or two animals from a stable population is acceptable (I'm sure there will be many who disagree with this, so before this all spirals out of topic again, I hasten to point out that I said MY opinion!). However, as soon as we start getting the idea of taking more "to breed" it becomes less about pure fascination and more about commercialism, and the damage done to a population by taking multiple animals (particularly multiple breeding females) becomes exponentially greater.

If there are sensible, serious people out there working with these and genuinely creating captive stock, I MAY consider donating some or all of my surplus animals to it, but that would be the most involvement I would choose to have personally... and as I only have the one pair, that means that any contribution I make would be lessened with each passing year as if all my animals come from the same parents they would risk genetic stagnation themselves.

That's pretty much all I will say on the matter at the moment. I still want clarification on some of the legalities regarding keeping this species myself, and as the above email shows, I'm not entirely sure anybody actually knows (or is willing to admit) what is permissible or not with this species, including DEFRA!

Regards,
Francis


Quote:
Originally Posted by Speeple View Post
I think you've over simplified almost every part of this. From the over simplification of the entire breeding process to the ramifications of the end result (if you actually manage to pull off the first part).

The sites I visit where grass snakes are struggling are a result of habitat destruction or (mis / over)-management. I think you're trying to solve a problem that doesn't exist (if you think everyone's out collecting them).

For the sake of wild populations I think they are best kept as a fringe species in the hobby.
I agree completely with this.

As I said above; if you like Grass Snakes, and desperately want to keep one, then go for it and try it. However, remember that even if you do get a pair and manage to breed them, you are going to start finding it difficult deciding what to do with the offspring!

Regards,
Francis
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Old 28-06-2011, 12:01 AM
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im not planning on doing this on any kind of commercial level just basically creating a cb stock from ideally just one pair then putting that pair back in the wild then ideally swapping a few babies around to create a healthy gene pool to start the cb population off with. Im not into this for any commercial gain as u probably know yourself the outlay and cost of feeding wont create a profit plus id only be looking to sell any on if the licence thing works out to people seriously into the species and helping create a health cb stock. I belive this in turn would stop people in the future taking any from the wild for 2 reasons. 1. they will prob be too lazy to spend hours hunting one down and 2. if there readily avalible cb stock that will take pinkies etc and easily avalible food why buy something thats going to be incredibly hard to provide food for. Just a quick question i saw ur thing on guppies there easily bred and i have enough tanks do u have any idea if baby malawi cichlids would be ok also. And finally im thinking of collecting frogspawn out the pond and using the tadpoles and letting the frogs develop and various stages bumping them off and freezing them so i have various sized frogs etc bit like pinkies, fluffies etc etc
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Old 28-06-2011, 08:53 AM
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I know your doing this with good intention mate but proving there CB isnt easy, and people will still continue to catch them as people will think why pay £30 for a CB one, when my local pond I can harvest load's, then youll have people applying for licences to breed them to sell them for a little money, resulting in the WC population in decline.

If your going to breed them why not just get some CB babies, forget about selling them and just release them... where you found the parent's.

Ive been told they are not easy to feed and it's not always just 'rub a pinkie on frog'.

good luck what ever you try mate,
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Old 28-06-2011, 11:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeyb View Post
I belive this in turn would stop people in the future taking any from the wild for 2 reasons. 1. they will prob be too lazy to spend hours hunting one down and 2. if there readily avalible cb stock that will take pinkies etc and easily avalible food why buy something thats going to be incredibly hard to provide food for.
I can see you are going down all the right avenues ect looking into licences ect and I ma glad of this,

But as you will be well aware it is still all to easy to get hold of WC snakes of most species, royals for instance which are so easy and cheep to buy CB but the wild trade still continues and folk still buy potential non feeding, possably parasited snakes.
The availability of CB wont stop the indiscriminate collection of wild snakes, it may make it easyer to have them, the proof of origin is going to be very hard to enforce. I can see some folk paying to have a grass snake couriered across the country because it id CB but as the last thread on this topic showed most folk dont seem to be worried about just going and collecting one anyway, so I doubt they will be willing to pay even the courior price if you were giving he hatchlings away

I aint goiing to get into a "Right or Wrong" discussion again on this point, but i would like to say again I am glad you are researching the subject and do seem to be doing this as a proper "project", and I am more relaxed about the Idea when it is clearly thought out like this, rather than just indiscrimanate collection just because its "not illegal"
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Old 28-06-2011, 11:48 AM
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I had a look through the site you linked and downloaded the applicaton forms, but none of them seem to apply to Natrix Natrix. They only apply to fully protected animals.

The list on the form:
EUROPEAN PROTECTED SPECIES OF ANIMALS

Conservation (Natural Habitats) Regulations 1994 (as amended)

Common name
Scientific name

Bats, Horseshoe (all species)
Rhinolophidae

Bats, Typical (all species)
Vespertilionidae

Butterfly, Large Blue
Maculinea arion

Cat, Wild
Felis silvestris

Dolphins, porpoises and whales (all species)
Cetacea

Dormouse
Muscardinus avellanarius

Frog, Pool
Rana lessonae

Lizard, Sand
Lacerta agilis

Moth, Fisher’s Estuarine
Gortyna borelii lunata

Newt, Great Crested (or Warty)
Triturus cristatus

Otter, Common
Lutra lutra

Snail, Lesser Whirlpool Ram’s-horn
Anisus vorticulus

Snake, Smooth
Coronella austriaca

Sturgeon
Acipenser sturio

Toad, Natterjack
Bufo calamita

Turtles, Marine
Caretta caretta
Chelonia mydas
Lepidochelys kempii
Eretmochelys imbricata
Dermochelys coriacea


In addition a licence is also required to sell the following species regardless of when they were taken from the wild.
Large copper butterfly (Lycaena dispar)
Common lizard (Lacerta vivipara)

EUROPEAN PROTECTED SPECIES OF PLANTS

Common name
Scientific name

Dock, shore
Rumex rupestris

Fern, Killarney
Trichomanes speciosum

Gentian, Early
Gentianella anglica

Lady’s slipper
Cypripedium calceolus

Marshwort, Creeping
Apium repens

Naiad, Slender
Najas flexilis

Orchid, Fen
Liparis loeselii

Plantain, Floating-leaved water
Luronium natans

Saxifrage, Yellow Marsh
Saxifraga hirculus

(It then goes on to say whih ones you need A10 CITES ones for.)

It also says:
''A licence is not required under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 or under the Conservation (Natural Habitats) Regulations 1994 to sell captive bred animals or cultivated plants.''

Though I don't know how they want you to prove that they are captive, though I would have thought having adults in your posession and maybe photo of the eggs or copulation would be enough?

Interesting anyway... I would love some Natrx Natrix, and would prefer CB :P
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