[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 97 (Tuesday, May 20, 2014)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 28847-28849]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-11537]



Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

[Docket Number FWS-HQ-ES-2013-0055; FXES111809F2070B6]
RIN 1018-AY76

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Listing the 
Southern White Rhino (Ceratotherium simum simum) as Threatened

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Affirmation of interim rule as final rule.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), are adopting 
as a final rule an interim rule to list the southern white rhino 
(Ceratotherium simum simum) as threatened under the authority of 
section 4(e) of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act), 
due to the similarity in appearance with the endangered Javan 
(Rhinoceros sondaicus), Sumatran (Dicerorhinos sumatrensis), Indian 
(Rhinoceros unicornis), black (Diceros bicornis) and northern white 
rhino (Ceratotherium simum cottoni). The interim rule was necessary, as 
differentiating between the horns and other products made from the 
southern white rhino and the endangered Javan, Sumatran, Indian, black, 
and northern white rhino is difficult for law enforcement to determine 
without genetic testing, decreasing their ability to enforce and 
further the provisions and policies of the Act. This similarity of 
appearance has resulted in the documented trade of listed rhinoceros 
species, often under the guise of being the unprotected southern white 
rhinoceros, and this difficulty in distinguishing between the rhino 
species protected under the Act and the southern white rhino 
constitutes an additional threat to all endangered rhinoceros species. 
The determination that the southern white rhino should be treated as 
threatened due to similarity of appearance will substantially 
facilitate law enforcement actions to protect and conserve all 
endangered rhino species. Therefore, for the reasons given in the 
interim rule and in this document, we are adopting the interim rule as 
a final rule without substantive change.

DATES: Effective May 20, 2014, we are adopting as a final rule the 
interim rule published at 78 FR 55649 on September 11, 2013.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Janine Van Norman, Chief, Branch of 
Foreign Species, Endangered Species Program, U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service, 4401 North Fairfax Drive, Room 420, Arlington, VA 22203; 
telephone 703-358-2171; facsimile 703-358-1735. If you use a 
telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), call the Federal 
Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 800-877-8339.



    In an interim rule we published in the Federal Register on 
September 11, 2013 (78 FR 55649-55656, http://www.regulations.gov 
Docket No. FWS-HQ-ES-2013-0055), we listed the southern white rhino 
(Ceratotherium simum simum) (SWR) as threatened under the ``similarity 
of appearance'' provisions of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as 
amended (Act), 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq. The effective date of the listing 
was September 11, 2013. We amended subpart B of chapter I, title 50 of 
the Code of Federal Regulations at Sec.  17.11(h), by adding the 
southern white rhinoceros to the List of Endangered and Threatened 
Wildlife due to a similarity of appearance. Public comments on the 
interim rule were received on or before October 11, 2013.


    We received 32,139 comments from both the public and 
nongovernmental institutions; all but two commenters supported the 
interim rule. One comment conditionally supported the interim rule; the 
other did not support the interim rule. A brief description of the two 
comments and our responses are provided below.
    Comment: Both commenters expressed concern regarding the permitting 
requirements related to the legal take and importation of trophy 
specimens. One of the commenters also requested a special rule (under 
section 4(d) of the Act) that would waive the ``enhancement'' 
requirement associated with the ESA importation permit for SWR that are 
listed as Appendix I under the Convention on International Trade in 
Endangered Species (CITES),

[[Page 28848]]

including sport-hunted trophies imported from Namibia and Zimbabwe.
    Response: The Service's regulatory criteria for issuance of permits 
for any activity otherwise prohibited with a species designated as 
endangered or threatened due to its similarity of appearance are found 
at 50 CFR 17.52(b). Under these criteria, the Director shall consider, 
in addition to the general permitting criteria found at 50 CFR 
13.21(b), whether the information submitted by the applicant 
identifying the species and the origin of the wildlife or plant in 
question appears reliable and whether it adequately identifies the 
wildlife or plant so as to distinguish it from any Endangered or 
Threatened wildlife or plant. Therefore, ESA permits for importation of 
SWRs from populations listed under CITES Appendix I may be issued 
according to the regulatory criteria mentioned above, and there is no 
requirement for the Service to find that the otherwise prohibited 
activity involving these specimen of SWRs enhances the survival or 
propagation of the species. Current requirements to import legally 
obtained SWRs listed as CITES Appendix I already require a CITES permit 
from the country of origin, as well as CITES import permit issued by 
the U.S. For SWRs exported from South Africa or Swaziland, which are 
currently the only populations listed in Appendix II of CITES, no ESA 
regulatory permit for importation is required, provided that the 
specimen was legally exported from one of those two countries, the 
importation was not made in the course of a commercial activity, and 
other applicable requirements under section 9(c)(2) of the Act are met; 
a CITES Appendix II permit from the country of export would still be 
required for these specimens. More information regarding permitting 
requirements can be found at http://www.fws.gov/ permits/ ImportExport/ 
    Comment: One of the commenters questioned why the Service lists 
foreign species.
    Response: The Act requires the Service to list ``species'' as 
endangered if they are in danger of extinction, or threatened if they 
are likely to become endangered in the foreseeable future, regardless 
of the country in which the species lives. By regulating import; 
export; take within the U.S., the territorial sea of the U.S, or upon 
the high seas; certain activities for species taken in violation of the 
ESA's prohibitions on take and import/export; delivery, receipt, 
carrying, transport, or shipment in interstate or foreign commerce in 
the course of a commercial activity; or sell or offer for sale in 
interstate or foreign commerce, the United States ensures that people 
under the jurisdiction of the United States do not contribute to the 
further decline of species that meet the definition of threatened or 
endangered under the Act.
    Therefore, for the reasons given in the interim rule and in this 
document, we are adopting the interim rule as a final rule without 
substantive change. However, we are taking this opportunity to correct 
a nonsubstantive omission in the regulatory text. We are adding a 
number to the ``When Listed'' column of the List of Endangered and 
Threatened Wildlife to provide the public with the Federal Register 
citation and date of publication of the interim rule.

Required Determinations

Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. 3501, et seq.)

    This rule does not contain any new collections of information that 
require approval by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under the 
Paperwork Reduction Act. This rule will not impose new recordkeeping or 
reporting requirements on State or local governments, individuals, 
businesses, or organizations. We may not conduct or sponsor, and you 
are not required to respond to, a collection of information unless it 
displays a currently valid OMB control number.

National Environmental Policy Act (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.)

    The Service has analyzed this rule in accordance with the National 
Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA). The Council on Environmental 
Quality's (CEQ) regulations implementing NEPA, at 40 CFR 1508.4, define 
a ``categorical exclusion'' as a category of actions which do not 
individually or cumulatively have a significant effect on the human 
environment and which have been found to have no such effect on the 
human environment. CEQ's regulations further require Federal agencies 
to adopt NEPA procedures, including the adoption of categorical 
exclusions for which neither an environmental assessment nor an 
environmental impact statement is required (40 CFR 1507.3). The Service 
has determined that this rule is categorically excluded from further 
environmental analysis under NEPA in accordance with the Department's 
NEPA regulations at 43 CFR 46.210(i), which categorically excludes 
``[p]olicies, directives, regulations, and guidelines: that are of an 
administrative, financial, legal, technical, or procedural nature.'' In 
addition, the Service has determined that none of the extraordinary 
circumstances listed under the Department's regulations at 43 CFR 
46.215, in which a normally excluded action may have a significant 
environmental effect, applies to this final rule.

References Cited

    A complete list of all references cited in the interim rule is 
available on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov or by 
contacting the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.


    The primary author of this rule is the staff of the Branch of 
Foreign Species, Endangered Species Program, U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service, 4401 North Fairfax Drive, Room 420, Arlington, VA 22203 (see 


    The authority for this action is the Endangered Species Act of 
1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.).

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 17

    Endangered and threatened species, Exports, Imports, Reporting and 
recordkeeping requirements, Transportation.

Regulation Promulgation

    Accordingly, we are adopting as a final rule the interim rule that 
amended part 17, subchapter B of chapter I, title 50 of the Code of 
Federal Regulations and that was published at 78 FR 55649 on September 
11, 2013, with the following changes:


1. The authority citation for part 17 continues to read as follows:

    Authority:  16 U.S.C. 1361-1407; 1531-1544; 4201-4245; unless 
otherwise noted.

2. Amend Sec.  17.11(h) by revising the entry for ``Rhinoceros, 
southern white'' under Mammals in the List of Endangered and Threatened 
Wildlife to read as follows:

Sec.  17.11  Endangered and threatened wildlife.

* * * * *
    (h) * * *

[[Page 28849]]

                       Species                                                   Vertebrate
------------------------------------------------------                        population where                                  Critical       Special
                                                          Historic range       endangered or         Status      When listed     habitat        rules
           Common name              Scientific name                              threatened
                                                                      * * * * * * *
Rhinoceros, southern white......  Ceratotherium simum  Botswana, South      Entire.............  T(S/A)                 832           N/A           N/A
                                   simum.               Africa, Swaziland,
                                                        Zambia, Zimbabwe.
                                                                      * * * * * * *

    Dated: April 4, 2014.
Daniel M. Ashe,
Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 2014-11537 Filed 5-19-14; 8:45 am]