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81 Ind. L.J. 713 (2006)
Exotic Pets Invade United States Ecosystems: Legislative Failure and a Proposed Solution

handle is hein.journals/indana81 and id is 723 raw text is: Exotic Pets Invade United States Ecosystems:
Legislative Failure and a Proposed Solution
Sneaky, slithery invaders have attacked southern Florida. The perpetrators are not
drug lords, terrorists, or angry retirees; instead, the intruders are giant snakes. The
Burmese python is one of thousands of non-native species that has invaded the United
States in the last several decades.' These invasive creatures, which rank among the
world's largest snakes, have overrun the Florida Everglades.2 According to the director
of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, invasive species pose the number one
environmental threat to the United States.3 While a number of different activities are
potentially to blame,4 the pet-trade industry plays a significant role in the introduction
of non-native invasive species into the United States.5                      6
Exotic species find their way into U.S. native ecosystems in three different ways.
First, government agencies may intentionally introduce exotic species into the
environment, as the U.S. Fish Commission has introduced carp, a non-native fish
species, into U.S. river systems.7 Second, exotic species are unintentionally and
incidentally introduced through the operation and ownership of property. For instance,
certain transporting activities, such as shipping crates of fruit, carry the risk that exotic
* J.D. Candidate, 2006, Indiana University School of Law-Bloomington; B.S., 2002,
Purdue University. First and foremost, I would like to thank the Lord for His ever-lasting mercy
and grace, for seeing me through the dark, and for guiding me to the Light. I am also forever
indebted to my wife, Melissa, for her ever-enduring love and support through these trials and
tribulations otherwise known as law school, my parents Dean and Diane for their abounding and
persistent love, and my sister Tamra and her husband Eric for their never-ending support. I
would also like to thank the Indiana Law Journal associates, the editorial staff, and Professor
Robert L. Fischman for their considerable efforts.
1. Stefan Lovgren, Huge, Freed Pet Pythons Invade Everglades, NAT'L GEOGRAPHIC
NEWS, June 3, 2004, http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2004/06/0603_040603_
2. Id.
3. Id.
4. Id. (noting that [s]ome invasive species may be 'stowaway' organisms that arrive here
inside packing materials, or micro-critters that are dumped from ships' water tanks. But many
plants and animals also enter the U.S. as part of the booming trade in exotic pets or food.); see
also Charles Seabrook, Endangered Creatures for Sale: Illegal Animal Trade Reaps Billions
Yearly, ATLANTA J.-CONST., Dec. 21, 2003, at Al (Tens of thousands of endangered wild
creatures from Brazil, Indonesia, Ghana and other countries are being [illegally] smuggled each
year to black markets in the United States, Canada, Europe and Japan. Traffickers entice native
people.., to capture coveted animals from rain forests and other wild habitats.) (alteration in
5. See Lovgren, supra note 1.
6. Daniel P. Larson, Combating the Exotic Species Invasion: The Role ofTort Liability, 5
DuKE ENVTL. L. & POL'Y F. 21, 34 (1995).
7. Id.

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