Monday, November 10, 2014

AFWA Releases Concept Paper on "Applying the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation to Herpetofauna"

State fish and wildlife agencies are charged with managing all wildlife including amphibians and reptiles and the habitats on which they depend, and in recent years, this responsibility has grown.

Native amphibians and reptiles (i.e., herpetofauna) have long been used in unique ways relative to other vertebrates in the public trust—for research, education, food consumption, skins and live uses such as pets, bait, hobbyist collection, captive breeding and photography. However, many of these uses are not closely tracked, and thus, sustainability of such harvest may not be known.

Given that the global human population is still growing, and in combination with continued habitat loss and fragmentation and the emerging threats of disease and climate change, state, provincial and territorial fish and wildlife agencies need more tools to ensure the sustainability of herpetofaunal species and communities. One such tool already exists in the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation.

The Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies' Amphibian and Reptile Subcommittee produced a concept paper, Applying the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation to Herpetofauna, which provides guidance using the framework of the Model to ensure sustainable use of these resources. Following review by seven AFWA committees, the paper was advanced to AFWA’s Business Meeting and unanimously approved in September 2014.

Spadefoot toad photo courtesy of George Andrejko, Arizona Game and Fish Department