Wednesday, January 9, 3:30 – 4:30, Arizona Senior Academy Building

Cecil Schwalbe’s presentation will concern herps, which is slang for amphibians and reptiles, and perps, which refers to the perpetrators involved in illegal trade of those animals.

Dr. Schwalbe was the first state herpetologist for the Arizona Game and Fish Department (1984-1990). He then returned to the University of Arizona, where he had earned his doctorate in zoology, to establish a research program guiding the conservation of our native amphibians and reptiles. Along with his graduate students, he investigated many of Arizona’s native species, reaching south into Mexico to study sea turtles and desert tortoises. Intensive research focused on the Sonoran desert tortoise, native ranid (“true”) frogs and the invasive American bullfrog. He has served on many conservation and advisory teams, including federal recovery teams for the Mojave desert tortoise and the Houston toad. He worked for National Geographic Expeditions for ten years in Central and South America and in the southwestern United States. He is an ecologist emeritus with the U.S. Geological Survey and co-teaches science and environmental journalism with his wife, Carol, at the University of Arizona’s School of Journalism.

 His presentation of slides and stories will address the continuing problem of illegal trading in Arizona’s wildlife, focusing on a series of sting operations in the 1980s, with some important insights since then. These operations demonstrate the intricate and international nature of black market reptile trading. Dr. Schwalbe will also bring guests: some of the actual reptiles rescued during the sting operations.

–Written by Carol and Donald Gilzinger, Academy Village Volunteers


Jan. 9: Herps & Perps! The Black-Market Trade in Arizona Reptiles