TTPG Conference, Phoenix Expo Recap and More

Turtle and Tortoise Preservation Group (TTPG) Conference Recap

TTPG held an amazing conference last week in Mesa, AZ. Every aspect of the event was top notch from the venue to the speakers. Presenters included: Barry Downer (Tulsa Zoo), Fred Caporaso PhD, Joe Flanagan DVM (Houston Zoo), Carl Franklin (University of Texas at Arlington), Cord Offermann DVM, Paul Vander Schouw, John Coakley and international speaker Tomas Diagne (African Chelonian Institute). USARK's Phil Goss was keynote speaker, addressing the herp community's battle with anti-pet groups. The Q & A portion following the talk was very active. Richard Fife, Bob Ashley (NARBC) and Pete Jansema (Waterland Tubs) lead a group discussion concerning the 4" turtle law to close the first day of the conference. Founder Russ Gurley and the TTPG team did a great job. This event should be on your calendar for 2014. Learn more about TTPG and support their cause at (A special mention to Bob and Sheri Ashley from Eco Wear & Publishing who donated a copy of The Complete Box Turtle to each conference registrant.)

Phoenix Reptile Expo Recap

The Phoenix Reptile Expo following the TTPG conference was a huge success. Promoters Drew Rheinhardt and James Badman did a tremendous job with this show. The attendance was great and the variety of species was astounding, including shingleback skinks, chuckwallas and Galapagos tortoises. The sense of community was great and this was most apparent at the TTPG/USARK benefit auction. The room was packed, donations were plentiful and the attendees stepped up to support the two organizations. It truly was a benefit auction, with items going near, and even well-above, value. Ken Foose from Exotic Pets Las Vegas did an incredible job as auctioneer, kept everyone entertained and raised over $15,000. Ken was given a break from auctioneer duties when his donation of a U.S. CBB Galapagos tortoise came up. This adorable little tortoise raised over $4,200 and Ken even gave an additional donation (accompanied by a little public humility for two great causes). Thank you, Ken and Kim Foose! And thank you Phoenix Reptile Expo for promoting a successful event and making the auction possible.

It was great to see the herp community united last week. The conference and expo both offered a glimpse at a group of people that is coming together, thinking about the future of the hobby, being active and building steadfast bonds. Thanks to everyone involved with making the herp community stronger and better.

Herpers Say Thanks to USARK

"Puerto Rico Reptiles, Inc. (Juan C. Alejandro-President), Puerto Rico Balls, Inc. (Faustino Alicea, JD.-President), Juan Morales (Owner JEMM Scales, Official of Marquez & Morales Law Office) and Puerto Rico reptile keepers want to thank USARK President Phil Goss and Kevin McCurley (NERD) for showing respect for the Puerto Rico keepers, as well as dedication and compassion for the reptile community. These two contributed (the first and only time that U.S. keepers and organizations have taken part, as far as we know) during a new law proposal in Puerto Rico that could open and bring reptile shows to the Puerto Rican keepers and open the gates for reptile market diversity. Now, USARK is joining forces with the reptile hobbyists on the island to bring the fight to the next level. Labors of support were done for the law proposal PS704 at the consideration of the Senate on the Commission of Agriculture, Security and Sustainability of the Mountain South Region. The proposal was presented by Senator Thomas Rivera Schatz." - Juan Morales

"Phil, on behalf of my Puerto Rican brothers, I want to personally thank you for your efforts to assist in amending the current over restrictive reptile-keeping laws. I visited the island last year and met them all. They are a very dedicated group to all aspects of herpetoculture including "exotic animal law." They are very aware of their government's new proposals and are always present at the Capitol as a group to express their opinions each time our hobby is threatened. Thanks again for all your help!" - Luis Diaz (juggler BP)

It's great to see the Puerto Rican herp community taking an active role to support their hobby. This photo shows their team on the steps of the Puerto Rico Capitol building. USARK is here to assist however possible. Thank you Puerto Rican herpers for setting a great example!

Special Thanks to North American Reptile Breeders Conference (NARBC)

NARBC raised $111,166 for USARK, PIJAC and Rico Walder (Signal Herp) in 2013. Now that's impressive! Thank you Bob Ashley, Brian Potter, NARBC: North American Reptile Breeders Conference and all the generous auction contributors and volunteers that made this possible. Visit their website at

"Ashley said that NARBC has been helping to raise money at its Saturday show auctions since the inception of the show in 2001. Ashley announced the person of the year award went to Todd Goodman of Timberline Fisheries [and USARK Board Member]. Goodman, Ashley said, has been instrumental to help raise awareness and funds for USARK, PIJAC and other organizations that have been needed by the reptile industry. Goodman received his $1,000 award at the Fall Tinley Park show, which he proceeded to donate back to USARK..." Read the entire article at

TTPG/USARK Auction Contributors

$5,000+: Ken Foose (Exotic Pets Las Vegas)

$2,000+: Down Under Dragons & XXL Reptiles

$1,000+: Reptile Industries, Wayne Hill (National Reptile Breeders' Expo: Daytona NRBE), Zoo Med

$750: Psychotic Exotics

$500+: Southbay Tropical, Goss Reptiles, Exo-Terra, LLL Reptile & Supply, Southern California Herp Association & Rescue, Ton Jones (Auction Hunters), Eco Wear, Predators Reptile Center, Phoenix Reptile Expo

$250+: 480 Pythons, Tortoise Supply, Bob Applegate, Reptile Avenue, Richard Fife, Nick Burg

$100+: Manzo Family, SanTan Reptiles, Howard Del Monte, Gex Wear, J&M Cages, Serpent Stick, Living Art Publishing (Russ Gurley), Nano Exotics, Waterland Tubs, Bill and Kathy Love, Millipedes N' More, Arizona Reptile Center, Dr. Richard S. Funk (DVM, MA), Jeff Luman Reptiles, Keith R. Klemme, Desert Snow Gecko

Other Donations: Black Lagoon Collectibles, Fork Tongue Farm, Flora Fantastica, Designer Geckos, Brom's Bug Box, Designed by Destiny, Black Canyon Exotics, C. Critterz Exotics, J&J Reptiles AZ, Moon Valley Reptiles, Desert Air Dragons, Fife Reptiles, Jason Shanaman

Auction Sponsors: Zoo Med and Phoenix Reptile Expo

USARK and Auction Volunteers: Lupe, Katy Bugler, Isaiah, Carlos, Russ Gurley, Debbie and Joey McMorris, Drew Rheinhardt, James Badman, Ken and Kim Foose, Ton Jones, Kurt Edwards, SCHA&R crew (Jason, Mark, Justuce and Heather)

Thank you all for your support! Please let us know if we missed anyone.

Upcoming Events

Reptile Super Show: January 4-5, 2014 in Pomona, CA. This will be the largest and best Reptile Super Show as it takes over an even bigger venue. Get details at

Bowling with Barczyk: Attend a bowling fundraiser featuring Brian Barczyk (BHB Reptiles and, Loren Leigh (LLLReptile and Supply) and surprise guests. Proceeds will be split between the Southern California Herp Association and Rescue (SCHA&R) and USARK. The event will be held on Monday January 6, 2014 (this is the Monday following the Reptile Super Show) in Fullerton, CA. Get more details at

NRAAC Reptile and Amphibian Law Symposium: Rescheduled for March 7-9, 2014. Details coming soon at “The reptile and amphibian law symposium at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., cancelled due to the federal government shutdown, has been rescheduled for March 7-9, 2014, at the same location. A revised schedule and panelist list will be posted for the 2014 event within the next few weeks as we confirm panelists and topics. To register for free, please use the online registration form at and make sure to check back for future updates.” – NRAAC

Best of 2013 Awards!: The Reptile Report is holding their second annual Best of Awards. This is a huge event covering 81 categories to promote and recognize excellence in the herp community. Nominations run Nov. 12-30 and voting is Dec. 2-30. Just go to this link, nominate your favorites and follow the awards.

Roaming Reptiles Comic Book contest: The artwork with the most "Likes" will be the cover of the upcoming comic book, "The Adventure of Snikt & Snap". Head to the following link to vote for your favorite submission. Voting deadline is December 1st.

USARK Phoenix Show Photos

Baby Galapagos tortoise donated by Ken Foose to support TTPG and USARK

Mack Stewart from proudly shows his USARK support

Herp News (click photos for links)

Coldblooded Does Not Mean Stupid (NY Times)

Cherry Head Red-footed tortoise (Geochelone Carbonaria) © East Bay Vivarium

Pro-herp pet article (Reptiles can be rewarding pets)

Panther chameleon (Furcifer pardalis) ©

Salty wetlands help curb frog killing fungus

Southern Bell Frog (Litoria raniformis) © Lensview Photography

Article written by USARK