Today I’d like to introduce Hagen’s Smart Plants, a new line of artificial plants that hold great promise for those keeping Poison Frogs (Dendrobates, Phyllobates, etc.) and arboreal snakes, tarantulas, crabs and similar creatures. Read More »
Category Archives: General Reptile & Amphibian ArticlesFeed Subscription
It is said that people who make careers of their passions never work a day in their lives…those of us who have turned our hobbies into livelihoods are indeed fortunate. The following ideas have helped me along the way – I hope they are of some use to you.
Interacting with others is very important when you start and progress down your path. I was quite shy as a child, and this certainly hampered me…force yourself to ask questions of your relatives, teachers and folks working in the field. Read More »
From enormous Burmese Pythons in Florida to Wall Lizards in NYC, introduced species come as little surprise to US herp enthusiasts. But the recent (December, 2010) discovery that a huge African Spurred or “Sulcata” Tortoise, Geochelone sulcata, had apparently been living in an Arizona desert for some time, gave most of us pause for thought. Read More »
I’ve been very fortunate in having spent many years working with Crocodilians in both captivity and the wild while remaining (more or less!) intact in the process. Today I’d like to introduce the Marsh Crocodile (Crocodylus palustris) and highlight a unique population that thrives in a most unexpected locale.
Marsh Crocodiles, also known as Muggars, are equipped with immensely broad snouts (the croc world’s widest) and may reach 16 feet in length. Their large size and propensity to colonize canals and other man-made water bodies renders them a threat to people in some areas. Attacks are not unknown – this, along with a fondness for livestock and commercially important fish, has doomed several populations to extinction. Read More »
The term “Asian Turtle Crisis” was coined in 1997, when photos of thousands of rare turtles being slaughtered in a Guangzhou, China food market propelled the tragic plight of Asia’s freshwater turtles into the conservation spotlight. The private turtle-keeping and zoo communities were quick to take action, and a number of fine organizations and programs resulted. In 2001, I traveled to south Florida to help rehabilitate and place 7,500-10,000 turtles that had been confiscated in China.
Hard Work Pays Off
In south Florida I worked day and night alongside dedicated folks from the New York Turtle and Tortoise Society and other herp-oriented organizations, internationally-known turtle biologists, private turtle fanciers and zoo colleagues. The marathon effort was a grand success, with more turtles saved and placed in good homes than anyone would have dared hope upon first seeing their wretched condition. Given the passion, funds and other support that the situation aroused, the future looked promising. Unfortunately, 9 years later, the situation remains very bleak.
90+ Species Face Extinction
Recent studies by Conservation International (please see this article) reveal that at least 1/3 of the world’s 280 turtle species, including most of those found in Southeast Asia, are in imminent danger of extinction. Two photos on the homepage of the NY Turtle and Tortoise Society, taken 12 years apart in Guangzhou, China food markets, illustrate, graphically and tragically, that little has changed.
Several turtle species are represented by single populations numbering 12-50 individuals; only 4 specimens of the Red River Giant Softshell (Rafetus swinhoei, please see photo) are known to exist, the status of many Asian Box Turtles (Cuora spp., please see photo) can not even be determined, but several species have not been seen in years…the list goes on.
In Part 2 of this article we’ll take a look at the causes of the recent catastrophic declines in turtle populations and what is being done to reverse the trend.
Excellent article on the status of Asia’s turtles along with disturbing photos from food markets in China – READ THIS!
Cuoras Species Headshots image referenced from wikipedia and originally posted by Torsten Blanck