[Federal Register: January 25, 2002 (Volume 67, Number 17)]
[Page 3730]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]

[[Page 3730]]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Emergency Exemption: Issuance

Endangered Species

    On December 27, 2001, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) 
issued a permit (PRT-051290) to Conservation International/IUCN Turtle 
Survival Alliance, Aiken, South Carolina, to import five river terrapin 
(Batagur baska) from Kadoorie Farms and Botanic Gardens, Tai Po, New 
Territories, Hong Kong. The 30-day comment period required by Section 
10(c) of the Endangered Species Act was waived. The Service determined 
that an emergency affecting the health and life of these terrapins 
existed, and that no reasonable alternative was available to the 
applicant for several reasons.
    The terrapins were part of a seizure by the Agriculture, Fisheries 
and Conservation Department in Hong Kong, which took place on December 
11, 2001. The seizure which included 12 different Asian species 
totaling 10,000 live turtles, were concealed in four 20-foot 
containers. The confiscated turtles were smuggled to Macau by air from 
Singapore, and then shipped to China. The shipment was destined for the 
illegal food trade. The river terrapin was the only species listed as 
Appendix I under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered 
Species (CITES) and classified as endangered under the U.S. Endangered 
Species Act (ESA). The balance of the shipment was comprised of three 
species that were listed as Appendix II under CITES, and the remaining 
eight species that were not CITES or ESA listed.
    Because the exact origin of these specimens was not known, and 
based on information showing an increasing market demand for turtles in 
South China that poses a severe threat to wild turtle populations in 
Asian, returning these specimens to their natal country of origin and/
or their possible release back into the wild was not an option. The 
terrapins were shipped in very poor conditions which also put their 
immediate health in question. The IUCN Turtle Survival Alliance is 
planning to establish viable assurance colonies of this species to 
allow the opportunity for later repatriation of the species to 
protected areas within the range states, once these areas become 
    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has information collection 
approval from OMB through March 31, 2004, OMB Control Number 1018-0093. 
Federal Agencies may not conduct or sponsor and a person is not 
required to respond to a collection of information unless it displays a 
current valid OMB control number.
    Documents and other information submitted with these applications 
are available for review, subject to the requirements of the Privacy 
Act and Freedom of Information Act, by any party who submits a written 
request for a copy of such documents within 30 days of the date of 
publication of this notice to: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Division 
of Management Authority, 4401 North Fairfax Drive, Room 700, Arlington, 
Virginia 22203, telephone 703/358-2104 or fax 703/358-2281.

    Dated: January 11, 2002.
Timothy J. Van Norman,
Chief, Branch of Permits (International), Division of Management 
[FR Doc. 02-1877 Filed 1-24-02; 8:45 am]