Laws and Status
State regulations are established by the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission (AGFC) under authority of Amendment 35 to the Constitution of the State of Arkansas.
The American Alligator is designated as a game animal. Aquatic turtles and frogs (specifically the American Bullfrog) are designated as aquatic wildlife. These are specifically regulated and have hunting seasons. All other native amphibians and reptiles are considered non-game wildlife.
The killing of any non-game amphibian or reptile is illegal unless it proves to be an imminent threat to persons or property (i.e. livestock or pets). This applies even to venomous snakes.
Wildlife pets are restricted to six individuals of a species per household. The sale, purchase, barter, or transporting of such animals from the state or the progeny thereof is prohibited. The following herptiles may not be taken: Alligator Snapping Turtles, Ornate Box Turtles, Hellbenders, troglodytic (cave-dwelling) species, or those animals defined as endangered species. Beyond this, there may be county or city ordinances that restrict or prohibit the keeping of certain types of herptiles, especially those that grow to dangerously large sizes or are venomous.
A Wildlife Importation Permit is required to import live wildlife into the state (with the exception that up to 6 box turtles may be brought into the state as pets).
Levels of Protection and Status:
Species protected by international, federal, or state laws should be left untouched. Disturbing them in any way--killing, harassing, collecting, even picking them up--is likely to be in violation of the law.
International protection is offered primarily through the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Organisms are listed in one of three CITES Appendices with each offering a different level of protection.
International status is monitored by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN). Species of most concern are placed on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The IUCN also designates a population trend for species.
Federal protection is offered primarily through the U. S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) according to the Endangered Species Act of 1973.
State protection is offered primarily through the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission (AGFC). Some species are afforded additional protections as species of Special Concern. In conjunction with state, federal agencies, and other conservation partners, the AGFC is responsible for requesting and administering State Wildlife Grants to support the implementation of the Arkansas Wildlife Action Plan (AWAP). Species of greatest conservation need are identified and assigned a viability score and population trend.
State status is monitored by the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission (ANHC) for rare species. The ANHC designates a global (G) and state (S) rank for these inventoried species.
Protected and Monitored Species:
List of Species
Special Status Key
Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)
- 1 = Protection offered under Appendix I of CITES.
- 2 = Protection offered under Appendix II of CITES.
- 3 = Protection offered under Appendix III CITES.
International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN)
- EX = EXTINCT: A taxon is Extinct when there is no reasonable doubt that the last individual has died. A taxon is presumed Extinct when exhaustive surveys in known and/or expected habitat, at appropriate times (diurnal, seasonal, annual), throughout its historic range have failed to record an individual. Surveys should be over a time frame appropriate to the taxon's life cycle and life form.
- EW = EXTINCT IN THE WILD: A taxon is Extinct in the Wild when it is known only to survive in cultivation, in captivity or as a naturalized population (or populations) well outside the past range. A taxon is presumed Extinct in the Wild when exhaustive surveys in known and/or expected habitat, at appropriate times (diurnal, seasonal, annual), throughout its historic range have failed to record an individual. Surveys should be over a time frame appropriate to the taxon's life cycle and life form.
- CR = CRITICALLY ENDANGERED: A taxon is Critically Endangered when the best available evidence indicates that it meets any of the criteria A to E for Critically Endangered (see Section V), and it is therefore considered to be facing an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild.
- EN = ENDANGERED: A taxon is Endangered when the best available evidence indicates that it meets any of the criteria A to E for Endangered (see Section V), and it is therefore considered to be facing a very high risk of extinction in the wild.
- VU = VULNERABLE: A taxon is Vulnerable when the best available evidence indicates that it meets any of the criteria A to E for Vulnerable (see Section V), and it is therefore considered to be facing a high risk of extinction in the wild.
- NT = NEAR THREATENED: A taxon is Near Threatened when it has been evaluated against the criteria but does not qualify for Critically Endangered, Endangered or Vulnerable now, but is close to qualifying for or is likely to qualify for a threatened category in the near future.
- LC = LEAST CONCERN: A taxon is Least Concern when it has been evaluated against the criteria and does not qualify for Critically Endangered, Endangered, Vulnerable or Near Threatened. Widespread and abundant taxa are included in this category.
- DD = DATA DEFICIENT: A taxon is Data Deficient when there is inadequate information to make a direct, or indirect, assessment of its risk of extinction based on its distribution and/or population status. A taxon in this category may be well studied, and its biology well known, but appropriate data on abundance and/or distribution are lacking. Data Deficient is therefore not a category of threat. Listing of taxa in this category indicates that more information is required and acknowledges the possibility that future research will show that threatened classification is appropriate. It is important to make positive use of whatever data are available. In many cases great care should be exercised in choosing between DD and a threatened status. If the range of a taxon is suspected to be relatively circumscribed, and a considerable period of time has elapsed since the last record of the taxon, threatened status may well be justified.
- NE = NOT EVALUATED: A taxon is Not Evaluated when it is has not yet been evaluated against the criteria.
- Population Trend
- D, I, S, or ? = Decreasing, Increasing, Stable, or Unknown.
U. S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS)
- E = Endangered.
- T = Threatened.
- T(S/A) = Threatened: Similarity of Appearance to a Threatened Taxon.
- C = Candidate for Threatened or Endangered status.
- PC = Proposed Candidate for Threatened or Endangered status.
Arkansas Game & Fish Commission (AGFC)
- E = Endangered.
- SC = Special Concern.
Arkansas Wildlife Action Plan (AWAP)
- Priority Score for Species of Greatest Conservation Need
- 0 - 100 = A score closer to 0 indicates the species is more secure. A score closer to 100 indicates the species is more imperiled.
- Population Trend
- D, I, or ? = Decreasing, Increasing, or Unknown: Based on information derived from literature reviews, expert opinion or recent survey data, the status of the population in the state is determined to be decreasing, increasing, stable or unknown. This affects the Priority Score, increasing it if the species is decreasing, reducing it if the species is increasing, and having no numeric effect if it is stable or unknown.
Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission (ANHC)
- Global Ranks
- G1 = Critically imperiled globally because of extreme rarity (5 or fewer occurrences or very few remaining individuals or acres) or because of some factor(s) making it especially vulnerable to extinction.
- G2 = Imperiled globally because of rarity (6-20 occurrences or few remaining individuals or acres) or because of some factor(s) making it especially vulnerable to extinction.
- G3 = Either very rare and local throughout its range or found locally (even abundantly at some of its locations) in a restricted range (e.g., a single western state, a physiographic region in the East) or because of other factors making it vulnerable to extinction throughout its range; in terms of occurrences, in the range of 21 - 100.
- G4 = Apparently secure globally, though it may be quite rare in parts of its range, especially at the periphery.
- G5 = Demonstrably secure globally, though it may be quite rare in parts of its range, especially at the periphery.
- GH = Of historical occurrence throughout its range, i.e., formerly part of the established biota, with the expectation that it may be rediscovered (e.g., Bachman's Warbler).
- GU = Possibly in peril range-wide but status uncertain; more information needed.
- GX = Believed to be extinct throughout range (e.g., Passenger Pigeon) with virtually no likelihood that it will be rediscovered.
- T# = T subranks are given to global ranks when a subspecies, variety, or race is considered at the state level. The subrank is made up of a "T" plus a number or letter (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, H, U, X) with the same ranking rules as a full species.
- State Ranks
- S1 = Extremely rare. Typically 5 or fewer estimated occurrences in the state, or only a few remaining individuals, may be especially vulnerable to extirpation.
- S2 = Very rare. Typically between 5 and 20 estimated occurrences or with many individuals in fewer occurrences, often susceptible to becoming extirpated.
- S3 = Rare to uncommon. Typically between 20 and 100 estimated occurrences, may have fewer occurrences but with large number of individuals in some populations, may be susceptible to large-scale disturbances.
- S4 = Common, apparently secure under present conditions. Typically 100 or more estimated occurrences, but may be fewer with many large populations, may be restricted to only a portion of the state, usually not susceptible to immediate threats.
- S5 = Demonstrably widespread, common, and secure in the state and essentially ineradicable under present conditions.
- SA = Accidental.
- SH = Historically known from the state, but not verified for an extended period, usually 15 years.
- SU = Possibly in peril in the state, but status uncertain, more information is needed.
- SX = Apparently extirpated from state.
- SZ = Zero occurrences. Not of practical conservation concern in the state because there are no definable occurrences, although the taxa is native and appears regularly in the state.
- General Ranking Notes
- Q = A "Q" in the global rank indicates the element's taxonomic classification as a species is a matter of conjecture among scientists.
- ? = A question mark is used temporarily when there is some indecision regarding the rank assignment or when an element has not been ranked.
- B = Breeding status.
- N = Non-breeding status.
Reporting an Occurrence
In most cases, a verifiable record will require a photograph, detailed locality information, and date of observation. If you would like assistance in submitting an observation, please email me.