Welcome to this month’s Practical Reptile Keeping.
Black, white or grey? It seems that for a long time now, there has been a cloud hanging over the hobby, with fears that the European Union might seek to impose drastic bans on keeping a whole host of creatures, under its plans to tackle the issue of invasive non-native species across all member states.
The original plan was to come up with a so-called White List, which would feature only those species that could be kept, with everything else being banned. This would have applied not just to reptiles, but to all other animals, including fish and birds, while plants would have been controlled too.
It is therefore good news to be able to report that commonsense has ultimately prevailed, and thanks in no small part to the efforts of Chris Newman of the Reptile and Exotic Pet Trade Association (REPTA) who has worked very hard on this issue, the new regulation has emerged as a much more measured response.
Its focus is centred firmly on directing efforts to controlling alien species that will harm the environment, rather than being used to place unwarranted restrictions on pet-keepers or gardeners, as was feared. In reality, the biggest dangers are not from those creatures that you can see – but those you can’t! There are a host of invertebrates that can be inadvertently brought to Europe in the ballast water of ships or on goods for example, and then start multiplying unseen so they quickly become a major menace, threatening native wildlife.
We still need to see the final list of banned species though, which has not been published as yet – this is obviously a key element of the regulation. There is clearly work to do, as some species are likely to become illegal to possess, and that raises serious issues – not least that people may simply be tempted to release them into the wild, worsening the problem that the regulation is seeking to solve!
David is an acknowledged expert with more than 40 years of experience in this area. He has written and broadcast extensively about the care and biology of these creatures, and also speaks regularly to various herpetological groups..
Conference at Colchester Zoo brings hope for some of the world's most endangered tortoises this November.
A conference organised by the Tortoise Welfare & Conservation Conference will take place at Colchester Zoo on 8th, 9th and 10th November. Due to loss of habitat, over collection for the pet trade and demand for local bush meat, many rare and beautiful turtles and tortoises that roam the planet face extinction within a decade without human intervention. Ryan Walker, specialist in Madagascan tortoises, will be speaking at the conference this November. Ryan will be giving a photo presentation of the plight of the unique Madagascan tortoises and sharing exclusive photographs taken from his three years of fieldwork. The talk is open to hobby conservationists and specialists alike.