Position Statement on Research with Live Bsal Cultures
Due to the potential negative effects of Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bsal) on populations of susceptible host species and the need for cooperative research to maximize the pace of knowledge discovery, the following standard operating procedures were agreed upon by the Bsal Task Force in the USA. To ensure the locations of live Bsal cultures used for research are known and because Bsal has not been isolated in North America, the Bsal Task Force states that all live Bsal cultures used for research must be obtained directly from Drs. Frank Pasmans or An Martel at the University of Ghent, Belgium, using a traditional Material Transfer Agreement. As required, all necessary import and export permits must be obtained. Furthermore, to ensure that Bsal remains contained in research facilities outside of its endemic regions, the pathogen must be handled by trained professionals, and research protocols must adhere to at least Biosafety Level 2 criteria. Following completion of research, live Bsal organisms should be destroyed by heat treatment or by immersion in >10% bleach solution.
The USFWS published an interim rule regarding Bsal on January 13, 2016. This rule took effect on January 28, 2016. The rule was published to prevent the transmission of Bsal into the United States, or among States, by listing 201 species of salamanders as injurious wildlife species, some of which are currently in the pet trade, under the Lacey Act. The interim rule prohibits importation or interstate transport of the listed salamander species (live, dead, or parts).
The public comment period is currently open and will remain so through March 14, 2016 (http://www.regulations.gov; docket no. FWS-HW-FAC-2015-0005).
More information, including Q&A, may be found at: http://www.fws.gov/injuriouswildlife/salamanders.html
The areas of the United States that are most at risk of a potentially invasive salamander fungus are the Pacific coast, the southern Appalachian Mountains and the mid-Atlantic regions, according to a recently published U.S. Geological Survey report.
These findings can help managers protect already declining amphibians in the U.S. from the Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans, or Bsal, fungus. Bsal is decimating wild salamander populations in Europe and could emerge in the U.S. through the captive amphibian trade. The new USGS study identifies areas of the U.S. with high likelihoods of two risks: Bsal introduction and severe consequences for local salamanders. READ MORE