Biological Control and U.S. Wildlife Laws

In the United States, the three wildlife laws relevant to entomologists are the Lacey Act, the Endangered Species Act, and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). The second and third acts generally do not directly affect biological control projects, although biological control workers should be aware of which species of invertebrates are listed as endangered in their states so as to avoid conducting trials in or around their habitats.

The Lacey Act, passed in 1900, was enacted to protect certain animals and their habitats that were in peril, as well as to prevent the introduction of injurious species into the United States. This law helps foreign countries and our individual States enforce their wildlife conservation laws. Since 1900, the act has been amended, among other provisions, to control the importation of all species of animals (not just endangered ones) and their products, making it illegal to import animals in ways that are in violation of the laws of the country of origin. The term wildlife is defined as "any wild animal, whether alive or dead, including without limitation any wild mammal, bird, reptile, amphibian, fish, mollusk, crustacean, arthropod, coelenterate, or other invertebrate, whether or not bred, hatched, or born in captivity, and includes any part, product, egg, or offspring thereof."

Also, all importations must be made through 11 designated ports of entry, with each package requiring a fee and a permit form. This has the potential to affect the practice of biological control, because the logical port of entry may not be one of these 11 locations. Another problem is that the Lacey Act requires inspection of material in incoming packages, but such inspection would breach the quarantine of the imported material in conflict with established procedures for natural enemy introductions.


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