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Hey Lester

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Posted by Jeff Judd on January 22, 2003 at 17:22:26:

In Reply to: Re: KB you are only half right posted by Les4toads on January 22, 2003 at 15:47:00:

I have been working with Horned Lizards for many years as well. I have spent many days at many different locations and have never observed horned lizards being collected. Horned lizards are very hard to locate because they blend in well with their surrondings making them unlikly to be collected in large numbers. Wild caught individuals only sale for $15 making them even less likely to be the focus of collection. More government intervention is not the solution to all problems here in the U.S. It usually messes things up. Look at different countries that have laws against the taking of reptiles(Mexico for instance)Many, many species are near extinction there and laws against collecting have been in place since the 70's. Its obvious collection is not a primary source for animal decline it just isn't. Land development is. The solution is for private wildlife agencys to work with BLM to "set aside" large undisturbed pieces of land so they can't be developed. Why wouldn't moving horned lizards that are going to be killed here in the Coachella valley to Octillo Wells which has a population declining do to offroad vehicles but still has large swaths of undeveloped land help? I beg to differ that captive breeding isn't a conservation issue you are wrong. Many animals have been saved from extinction do to captive breeding some examples are the Fiji Iguana, Sea turtle species, California Condor, Arizona Parrot to name a few. As for people not knowing the proper husbandry maybe a book on proper husbandry is in order. Horned lizard jaws have developed to take a variety of prey. In the wild grasshoppers(crickets) and Beetles and larvae(mealworms) and other insects make up about 50 % of many horned lizards diet so they can be offered in addition to ants. The trick is size, only small crickets and mealworms should be offered. Horned lizards like many small prey items not one large one like many people think . I along with many others (examples Baur & Montanucci) have had succes in producing large numbers of horned lizards but you must use certain techniques. I feel strongly against taking any horned lizard from an undisturbed habitat but feel it should be allowed were they are going to perish. Absolutly no wild caught horned lizards should be sold only captive bred ones. I just don't see how producing large numbers of horned lizards can be a bad thing but I do see that having a blinded ,my idea is the only solution mindset is. We should attack the problem from different angles and with different ideas rather than having one idea that the government is going to stop the the growth of the human population and save the horned lizards. My advice is for people to allow other individuals to try different ways of conservation that way if one fails we might have a chance with the other. Jeff

::I am sorry Jeff, but HLs are still found in the pet trade that are illegally collected, even here in California. I still see them every year and take corrective action. It is true that habitat loss is the primary reason now for HL population declines. Some laws are not helping but permits to capture HLs are a necessary practice. California Fish and Game do the best job that they can with the budgets they are given. Moving HLs from site to site does not correct the problem. Captive breeding for release may help, but even that is not a viable solution. Setting aside large tracts of land for protected habitat is a viable solution. Full protected status is a viable solution. Captive bred HLs do not promote conservation issues. Captive breeding promotes a market price that is not conservation. Many people still think that HLs can be fed crickets and mealworms and that will meet their needs. Wrong. If the HLs were meant to eat crickets and mealworms, their physiology would be different. They would have stronger biting force and different muscle development in their jaws for chewing. Captive breeding requires much more than many are willing to spend to establish such an enterprise. Once a market is established, do you really think that wild collection will stop? I do not think so. For over 15 years, I have worked with the HLs and I see only increases in abuse and wild populations declining. Permits are something that is a must at this point, and I mean for all species of HL. Research is an on-going requirement and habitat protection is also. Until people really understand the issues involved and education is a primary focus, the HLs will continue to decline and that is the sad part of the whole issue. Lester G. Milroy III

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