PARC Guidelines and Position Statements

Sustainable Use of Herps

Position On Sustainable Use of Reptiles and Amphibians

Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (PARC) brings together stakeholders from many perspectives. Our challenge has been to find common ground on which effective and practical policy and regulatory guidance for sustainable use can be formulated. Our position on the sustainable use of reptiles and amphibians is:

“PARC members are committed to managing reptile and amphibian populations in a sustainable manner that will integrate the conservation, protection, use, and enhancement of their populations, habitats, and ecosystems.”
To further support and help our members and non-members implement sustainable reptile and amphibian management actions, PARC’s committee on Policy, Trade, and Regulation has modified a set of management principles developed by the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. These model principles can be used as guidelines by PARC, its member organizations, private landowners, conservation organizations, state and federal government agencies, local governments, and the public to evaluate the sustainability of reptile and amphibian uses. These guidelines combine both ideal and practical components of sustainable use. The extent to which the guidelines are used by a member organization will be influenced by its legal authority, resource base, population demographics, culture, constituent expectations, local politics, and other constraints.

Whatever form or practice sustainable use takes, adoption, implementation, and advocacy of this position will assure the public that PARC and its member organizations continue to be leaders in reptile and amphibian conservation.

Download full text of the PARC position on Sustainable Use

Model Regulations for Herps

The objective of this model is to assist wildlife management agencies in creating or modifying their regulations regarding the collection, manipulation, possession, and sale of native and non-native herpetofauna; and promote consistency, when reasonable and feasible, between adjacent states. An agency’s decision to selectively adopt parts of, or the entire model, will depend upon its statutory authority, available resources, relevance of the recommendation, and stakeholder input.

The conservation of wild native herpetofauna populations, sustainable use of those populations, and public safety can be reasonably assured if the agency incorporates the following baseline recommendations:

  • Establish the legal presumption that all herpetofauna, and their body parts, are protected from collection unless specifically allowed;
  • Promote enforcement of regulations;
  • Establish appropriate penalties for violators;
  • Establish a licensing or permitting system to manage the personal, commercial, and scientific use of herpetofauna;
  • Regulate the collection, possession, and sale of native taxa, and venomous, invasive, and potentially dangerous non-native taxa (those taxa potentially threatening native species, ecosystems, or human health); and
  • Centralize the management and regulatory authority for all aspects of native and non-native herpetofauna into one work unit.

In this document, we have elaborated on the recommendations that PARC believes are the most critical to successful herpetofauna management and regulation.

Download full text of the PARC position on Model Herp Regulations for States

Use of Herps in Teaching

PARC policy on the use and fate of herps used as teaching aids – Produced by the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s Heritage Fund

Download Guidelines

The Problem: Live animals are undeniably an essential and economical tool for teaching students about the natural world. Lessons on biodiversity, physiology, genetics, and animal behavior would be dull, if not impossible, without the use of live specimens.

Live animals in the classroom help to stimulate student curiosity, keep students focused during presentations, and promote respect for non-human animals and their ecosystems. Unfortunately, once the lesson plan or the school year is completed, many of the animals used in classrooms or laboratories are released into the wild.

Releasing classroom pets or surplus laboratory specimens into the wild may be prohibited in your state, and in all cases it is unethical. Once released into the wild, many of these unwanted animals negatively impact native species and their ecosystems.

Federal agencies and the pet industry are teaming up to help consumers prevent the release and escape of non-native plants and animals through Habitattitude™, a new public education and outreach effort. Habitattitude encourages aquarium owners and water gardeners to avoid unwanted introductions of non-native species by adopting simple prevention steps when faced with an unwanted aquatic plant or fish.