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Re: herp societies and shows

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Posted by carlfranklin on September 11, 2002 at 18:02:49:

In Reply to: herp societies and shows posted by troy h on September 11, 2002 at 09:47:31:

Well I must say that this has been somewhat of an interesting string of postings. First of all my intent on hosting the recent show was to basically represent herpetoculture in a public manner that most of us could feel readilly comfortable with. Also I am a firm believer of "putting your money where your mouth is". I felt that another promoter was unwilling to listen to any suggestions that myself or anyone else provided and in turn I feel that a majority of herp enthusiast were not comfortable with the content of the shows or the manner in which they were run. Given the aforementioned, I saw a void in the marketplace and decided to fill the demand.

Kenny, I know of the geckos you discussed in your posting and I made an agreement with that vendor that only the juveniles would be sold. Due to the color difference he indicated to me that the adults were present to provide examples of adult coloration and not for sale. Never has Coleonyx brevis been considered as a herpetocultural challenge and several captive bred offspring are produced each year from numerous individuals.

I know that there was also an individual offering a juvenile anaconda which did initially raise my suspicions. However, this person was able to verify the source of that animal and it just happens that I know the owner and of his breeding success with the species.

Other than those possible examples, I don't know how I was "fraudulent" regarding anything offered for sale at my show. There are numerous species being bred in captivity that have never been offered for sale as captive bred on the public market or mainstream classifieds. One interesting example are neotropical night lizards (Lepidophyma flavimaculatum) that are being produced by a local hobbyist. And the list goes on and on and on.

It is clearly stated in my vendor contract that wild caught specimens are completely prohibited and vendors will forfeit their tables if they do not comply with the rules.

If anyone sees anything at this show that is either inappropriate, sick, or wild caught then let me know and I will glady demonstrate how my promotions are different than others we've endured.

I know that some folks reading this post may wonder "how can I tell what is or is not captive bred?". It really doesn't take a detective. What does help a considerable amount is staying in close contact with several active herpetoculturist, zoos, USFW, and import/export tarriff quotas. In most shows that allow imported specimens to be sold many (often a vast majority) species offered for sale can be coincidentally found on the latest import list (often marked at excrutiatingly low prices). This type of practice does not allow for the most viable commerce for captive breeders who must maintain a financial overhead for their livestock.
The "race to the bottom" pricing mentality is what makes it difficult for cb herps to compete with wc. It also is what led to the demise of at least one prominent and significant company The Shed. Which for several years was the leading resource on expert husbandry and selection of quality/rare imports for zoos and serious collectors. In fact there are only a few wild caught reptile brokers that I would feel comfortable with. And even in my zoo experience with those individuals many of the animals we obtained were struggling with health issues common among wild caught reptiles and amphibians.
Another topic is that all of the vendors present have strongly encouraged the cb only policy as many did not want to run the risk of their animals contracting any illness.

Troy, if there are possible aspects regarding my show that you may question or have concerns with then give me a call or send an email. Given your experience any comments/recommendations you might have would be greatly appreciated. That invitation is also extended to anyone (even devil's advocates).

On another note, I don't see how herp shows ruin the integrity of herpetological societies either. The ETHS is one example of how an organization can provide research grants and diverse sources of enjoyment for their membership. Another prominent example is the IHS. They not only have sales at their annual meeting, but provide grants for research efforts relating to both natural history and herpetoculture. A third example of an extremely successful herp society is the Kansas City HS. For 12 years, their all captive bred show has raised the bar for herp shows and provided their club with a healthy financial infrastructure.

All in all, I thought it was a great show and I do have plans for better events to come (which will be announced in due time). I also feel that Texas hasn't exactly been a "shining example" in relation to amphibian and reptile commerce. Rattlesnake roundups, houston toad habitat converted to golf courses, etc, etc. I felt that it was long overdue that someone stepped up and try to address herps (made available in a commercial setting) on the "popular front".

As far as my involvement with the DFWHS is concerned, I am an active contributing member that also serves as a board member and with the field trip and conservation commitee. The decision for the DFWHS to end its' relation with the TRE was also done at least 2 months prior to there even being a location or confirmation for my event. Also, as it has been previously stated I took all of the financial risk for this, paid for advertisement space in the newsletter, and had DFWHS present on an invitation. Most importantly I am elected by members into my position on the board. If there is a sufficient number of people in the organization that feel whatever I am doing is contrary or injurous to the DFWHS mission statement then I would expect for them to vote for somone else during the next elections.

The West Texas herp society was also present, but what other herp club could I help out in that capacity? ETHS has been invited to have an official presence at my next show but they had an expo the following week and there are only limited number of free tables I can afford to give away. If THS would like the opportunity to have a presence at my next event then they too are welcome as is the ETRHS. But there are really only a handful of the Texas herp organizations that are cohesive enough to have a materialized physical presence (ETHS, DFWHS, THS, ETRHS?)

all in all, if these are the complaints then I think things went over fairly well. By the way, Kenny and Maria are both enjoying the recent birth of their daughter (Maya) and while I don't envy their "customized" sleep patterns I am happy for the new excitement in their lives. While I did see Maria and Maya I must've missed Kenny at the show altogether. Kenny if you come to the next event then don't leave without seeing me. I don't know how I missed you, but then again between my two functioning motor neurons and the changing length of your hair who knows?

On a final note, it is great to see this much activity on a herp society forum. Thank you all for the criticisms, praise, and comments.


Carl J. Franklin

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