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Wednesday, February 23 • 9:30am - 10:00am
Track 2: Amphibian and Reptile Nature Tourism: An Untapped Resource for Wildlife Viewing and Citizen Scientist Engagement

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I manage amphibian and reptile conservation programs for Arizona Game and Fish Department, and as such I focus (generally) on very different things. However, over the years it has become increasingly obvious that in Arizona amphibian and reptile recreation (aka,“herping”) and conservation are often overlapping and complementary. Most states don’t have metrics to evaluate the contribution of herping to local economies, but citizen science websites, such as HerpMapper.com, make it abundantly obvious that herping is an extremely popular form of nature tourism, locally, regionally, and nationally. And this nature tourism often feeds into State wildlife agencies needs for distribution data for Species of Greatest Conservation Need, as well as for more common species that are often overlooked (think about how eBird has revolutionized birding and the use of citizen science data). In my presentation, I will talk about the popularity of herping in Arizona and select other states, point out the untapped potential for amphibian and reptile nature tourism in almost every part of the country, provide examples of how herping data have been used by the Arizona Game and Fish Department and our partners for management and research purposes, and make some suggestions as to how State wildlife agencies can make use of that resource.

avatar for Thomas Jones

Thomas Jones

Arizona Game and Fish Department
Thomas R. Jones is the Amphibians and Reptiles Program Manager for the Arizona Game and Fish Department, where he oversees conservation and management of amphibians and reptiles in Arizona. He received a B.S. and M.S. at Auburn University, and a Ph.D. at Arizona State University... Read More →

Wednesday February 23, 2022 9:30am - 10:00am MST
Sonoran 1