|The Mountain-Prairie Region|
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
134 Union Boulevard
Lakewood, Colorado 80228
February 15, 2005
Contact: Nicholas Throckmorton, 202/208-5636
S. Fish and Wildlife Service Proposes Simplified
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently proposed a number of changes in falconry regulations. The changes will simplify and update the agency’s regulations to reflect current practices in the traditional use of raptors for sport hunting.
“Falconers care deeply about wild raptors and have been very interested in their preservation across the country,” said Service Director Steve Williams. “At the request of State fish and wildlife agencies and falconers nationwide, the Service proposes to streamline the permitting process for falconers and clarify what are acceptable falconry practices.”
The proposed changes to falconry regulations include:
• Eliminating the Federal permit in favor of State or Tribal falconry permits. The States, with few exceptions, already administer falconry permitting programs. Dual State/Federal permitting no longer will be necessary.
• Transferring permitting of falconry activities with golden eagles to the States.
• Establishing electronic reporting of acquisition, transfer or loss of raptors held for falconry, to replace the current paper reporting system.• Allowing experienced falconers to assist Federal and State-permitted wildlife rehabilitators in conditioning raptors for release to the wild.
Under the proposal, after the final rule on the regulations is published, the States will have five years to change their regulations, if needed, to come into compliance with the new Federal regulations. Many States will not need that long to comply with the new regulations.
The proposed regulations are available via links from the migratory birds web page at <http://migratorybirds.fws.gov> or write to the Division of Migratory Bird Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 4401 North Fairfax Drive, Mail Stop 4107, Arlington, Virginia 22203-1610 to ask for a printed copy of the proposed rule. Please send comments to <FalconryRegulations@fws.gov> or the address above by May 10, 2005. The Service anticipates publication of a final rule in about 1 year. Please call 703-358-1825 for more information.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 95-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System, which encompasses 545 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 69 national fish hatcheries, 63 Fish and Wildlife Management offices and 81 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Assistance program, which distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on
fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.
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