SALT LAKE CITY — A proposed rule change would make it easier for Utahns to take home certain reptiles and amphibians caught in the wild.
The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources is asking the public for feedback on a proposal that would simplify the process for collecting, possessing or breeding non-venomous native reptiles and amphibians. Members of the public will have the chance to provide input at meetings across the state throughout May and June.
The current process involves obtaining a certificate of registration from the state. Under the proposal, people would be required to obtain a permit online, as well as take an online education course covering relevant laws, safety considerations and conservation ethics. The course certificate would remain valid for three years.
The aim of the proposal is to make it easier for reptile and amphibian collectors to "engage with these species in a sustainable way" and to make the process "more approachable for the public," DWR native species coordinator Drew Dittmer said in a statement.
The rule change would set a limit for the number of reptiles and amphibians that could be collected and kept in a person’s possession at any given time. The proposal also includes a requirement that people report where they found the reptiles and amphibians, a change Dittmer said could give scientists better data about animals in the wild.
"There isn’t a good way right now to know how many there are of several of these species," Dittmer said. "The online community science reporting is exciting and is the biggest thing I’m looking forward to with this new proposal."Comment on this story
Certain sensitive species would still be off-limits to collectors. Those species include the Gila monster, Mohave desert tortoise, Arizona toad, Western boreal toad, relict leopard frog and Columbia spotted frog.
The department is also seeking feedback on a proposal suggesting 267 transplant sites where wild turkeys could be relocated over the next five years.
Regional Advisory Council meetings will take place: May 21 at 7 p.m. at the Beaver City Center in Beaver, May 22 at 6:30 p.m. at the John Wesley Powell Museum in Green River, May 23 at 6:30 p.m. at the DWR office in Vernal, and June 6 at 9 a.m. at the Division of Natural Resources building in Salt Lake City.