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8:30 - 9:00 am | Conference Room Opens

Must present your ticket to enter 


9:00 am | Welcome & Opening Remarks

Speakers:  Mike Bober, President & CEO, PIJAC 
                    Stephen Kendrot, Deputy Director, Wildlife Operations, APHIS Wildlife                                  Services, Operational Support Staff


9:10 - 10:45 am | CITES & Its Role in Protecting Imperiled Species

Moderator: Phil Goss

Overview of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service CITES program

Amneris Siaca, Wildlife Biologist, Branch of Permits, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

The worldwide trade in reptiles and amphibians is monitored and regulated according to the rules and regulations laid down bythe1972 CITES agreements. In the United States, the agency tasked with this responsibility is the U. S. Fish & Wildlife Service. The Service maintains inspection facilities at all major ports of entry into the United States, inspecting both incoming and outgoing animal shipments for proper permits and compliance with the CITES agreements. Coordination with other offices and inspectors in the field, as well as the development and implementation of policy, is done through the Service's Division of Management Authority, in the International Affairs Program.


Non-detriment Findings Under CITES

Michael 'Jon' Siemien, Fisheries Biologist, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, International Affairs Program Division of Scientific Authority 


Captive Breeding in the U.S. and in Origin Countries
Michael Cole
, Ballroom Pythons South 

Michael will cover the fun, excitement and joy of captive breeding, as well as the conservation benefits of captive breeding to wild animal populations. This presentation will address inherent issues with captive breeding programs abroad, including smuggling and laundering, and the regulatory and social hurdles facing legitimate facilities from the mounting pressure from animal welfare advocates.


The Importance of Assurance Colonies

Wayne Hill, Director, National Reptile Breeders' Expo, Wayne Hill-Reptile Breeder, LLC

This presentation will address the need for assurance colonies when working with endangered species, addressing the issues of interstate commerce relative to the Endangered Species Act and the federal imperiled status of nonindigenous reptiles.


10:50 - 12:20 pm | Changes in Interpretation of Lacey Act & Implications

Moderator: Scott Hardin

The Injurious Wildlife Provisions of the Lacey Act: An Essential Invasive Species Management Tool
Craig Martin,
Chief, Branch of Aquatic Invasive Species, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

On April 7, 2017, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court’s ruling that 18 U.S.C. § 42(a)(1) of the Lacey Act does not prohibit transport of injurious wildlife between States within the continental United States. Prohibitions remaining intact include: 1) Import of injurious wildlife into the United States; and 2) transport of injurious wildlife between the listed jurisdictions in the shipment clause (the continental United States, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and any possession of the United States). History has shown that preventing the importation of high-risk invasive species into the United States has been an effective way to prevent invasions that ultimately burden the American people. Accordingly, the injurious wildlife provision of the Lacey Act remains an essential Federal regulatory tool for preventing the introduction of potentially invasive species into the United States.


U.S. Lacey Act Enforcement & Global Trafficking in Reptiles & Amphibians
Bryan Landry, Senior Special Agent, Office of Law Enforcement, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

A Common Sense Review of the Constrictor Rule & Injurious Listings
Phil Goss, President, United States Association of Reptile Keepers

This presentation will examine the Constrictor Rule and injurious listings under the Lacey Act from a responsible stakeholder perspective. Our federal government indeed has a difficult job preserving America’s natural resources but is the Lacey Act the proper tool to address commonly kept reptile and amphibian species? Do other avenues need to be explored for species of concern possessing the capability of being injurious to only very limited portions of the U.S.?


Florida Perspective on Invasive Species & Change to Lacey Act 
Kipp Frohlich, Director, Habitat & Species Conservation, Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission

Florida spends over $8 million annually on regulation, research, prevention, control, and removal of nonnative fish and wildlife. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) dedicates significant resources, including risk assessment, prevention of establishment, early detection and rapid response to contain or reduce the impact of established invasive species. Because of the recent court ruling, a number of species considered a significant risk for Florida may now be transported across state lines. The FWC is taking steps to address this and other concerns related to the rules regulating the importation of nonnative species.

12:20 - 2:00 pm | Lunch Break

PLEASE NOTE: Lunch will be provided onsite. Additional lunch options are limited to the cafeteria in the NOAA building which is a 5-minute walk, and several fast-casual options which are a 15-minute walk. 


2:00 - 3:30 pm | Herp Regulation and Management

Moderator: Bob Ashley

Overview of Invasive Species Regulations

Jhoset Burgos Rodriguez, National Invasive Species Council

Under U.S. policy, invasive species means, “with regard to a particular ecosystem, a non-native organism whose introduction causes or is likely to cause economic or environmental harm, or harm to human, animal, or plant health.” There is a direct connection between herpetofauna and invasive species. Herpetofauna can 1) be directly affected by invasive species and invasive species management; 2) have their habitat affected by invasive species or invasive species management; 3) be invasive; or 4) serve as vectors for invasive species. Federal agencies require legal authorities to carry out actions or programs. Each federal agency relies on different legal authorities, but no holistic legislation for invasive species prevention, eradication, control, and coordination across all taxa has ever been enacted. A limited number of these authorities have been enacted for invasive species, while agencies could supplement their authority with a number of laws and regulations that could be indirectly used for invasive species management (e.g. agencies’ enabling / organic acts, as well as authorities related to cultural and natural resource conservation, preservation, restoration, and maintenance). As a consequence, the legal status of federal invasive species programs are fractured and incomplete resulting in a patchwork of laws, regulations, policies, and programs. Legislation would be required to address some legal gaps and inconsistencies while others could be filled by leveraging agencies’ discretion and political leadership. Although the task might seem daunting, the incremental impacts of invasive species on our nation requires further reinforcement of the complex legal framework to effectively, prevent, detect, and respond to these threats. We can do this!


Insights Gained, Lessons Learned in Amphibian & Reptile Regulatory Efforts in Georgia

John Jensen, Georgia Department of Natural Resources

As the lead herpetologist for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources for the past 22 years, the author has experienced a variety of challenges related to conserving amphibians and reptiles. Existing laws and regulations continue to provide challenges, but efforts to reform them and adopt new ones have been made, with some success stories. Several case studies will be highlighted and the author will share insights on what has worked, what remains to be done, and what, seemingly, may never change.


Dangerous Animal Regulations and the Pet Trade
Joshua Jones, Deputy Director of Government Affairs, PIJAC

This presentation will provide an overview of legislative and regulatory issues that have an impact on responsible businesses in the U.S. herp industry and the animals they care for and provide to loving pet owners across the U.S. It will discuss recent legislative and regulatory issues and trends impacting the herp industry, some of the challenges facing responsible businesses and officials, as well as share insights on how stakeholders work with officials to address concerns and develop workable legislative and regulatory solutions.


HabitattitudeTM Reborn: A Key Component of PIJAC's Environmental Stewardship Mission

Scott Hardin, Science Advisor, PIJAC

PIJAC’s commitment to fostering environmental stewardship has manifested in the development of programs to discourage the release of companion animals and minimize the adverse impacts of invasive species. HabitattitudeTM was developed as a partnership among PIJAC, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to encourage responsible pet ownership and water gardening, emphasizing the importance of not releasing potentially invasive aquatic plants and marine ornamentals. Over the past year, HabitattitudeTM has undergone a complete facelift, targeting a broader audience by addressing reptile and amphibian enthusiasts and educators with pets in the classroom. Although the focus remains on not releasing pets and plants, the revitalized website emphasizes the importance of choosing the right pets and plants to reduce the chance of failure and subsequent release. An important element is the development of a network of partners in government, industry, academia and hobbyists to broadcast the message of responsible ownership.


3:35 - 4:50 pm | Panel Discussion: Stakeholder Contributions to Herp Management

Moderator: Curt Harbsmeier


Conservation and management of reptiles and amphibians, native and introduced, at the state and federal level involves a regulation, habitat management, industry best practices, and outreach/education. Specific management objectives of sustaining native herp populations must address habitat alteration, wild collection, and introduction of non-native species.

This panel will discuss how stakeholders from government agencies, industry, researchers, and environmental interests can cooperate in the development of comprehensive management programs that protect native herp species and allow enjoyment of companion animals by responsible pet owners.

Rich Crowley, Chicago Herpetological Society
Craig Martin, U.S.Fish and Wildlife Service
Josh Jones, PIJAC
Bob Ashley, National Amphibian and Reptile Breeders Conference
John Jensen, Georgia Department of Natural Resources



5:00 - 6:30 pm **Networking Reception after final session** 

Terrapin Ballroom
The Hotel at the University of Maryland
7777 Baltimore Ave. College Park, MD


8:30 - 9:00 am | Conference Room Opens, Welcome Back   

Must present your ticket to enter 

9:00 - 10:30 am | Reptile & Amphibian Diseases

Moderator: Dr. Thomas Edling, DVM, MSpVM, MPH


Amphibian Emerging Infectious Diseases: What's On The Radar?

Deanna H. (Dede) Olson, USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station, Corvalis, OR

Upon recognition of globally declining amphibian populations in ~1990, contributing factors included habitat loss and degradation, chemical contamination, invasive species, overuse, and a category called ‘enigmatic declines’ – species for which causes of losses were unclear. At first, climate and UV-b radiation were examined as understudied potential threats that may contribute to enigmatic losses, but it wasn’t until the amphibian chytrid fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), was described in 1999 that emerging infectious diseases appeared on the radar for amphibian conservation. Whereas several amphibian pathogens had been known to cause mass mortality (e.g., bacterial infections such as Aeromonas hydrophila which causes red-leg syndrome; water molds such as Saprolegnia ferax associated with egg deaths) and trematodes (Ribeiroia ondatrae) were linked to malformations, the aquatic fungus Bd was identified as the likely culprit for losses in remote areas in different parts of the world such as the rain forests of Central America and Northeast Australia. As we close the 2nd decade of Bd inquiry, and the 3rd decade of addressing amphibian declines, we now recognize: 1) diseases as a dominant threat to amphibian biodiversity; 2) the complex contexts of pathogen strain, host population, and environmental conditions can affect the outcome of infection; and 3) the role of humans in disease-caused amphibian losses is significant, with inadvertent human-mediated transmission of disease-causing pathogens a current priority for management actions.


Ranaviruses & Bsal : Global Translocation & Emergence Through Trade

Matthew J. Gray, Center for Wildlife Health, Institute of Agriculture, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN

Pathogens have been linked to the declines of cold-blooded vertebrates across the globe. Ranaviruses were discovered over 50 years ago, and can infect fish, reptiles and amphibians. Transmission occurs efficiently by direct contact between animals, through water, and if animals are exposed to contaminated surfaces or substrates. Ranaviruses attack multiple organ systems, and cause a hemorrhagic disease similar to Ebola. Mortality can exceed 90% during an outbreak. Significant economic loss can occur in captive populations, hence preventing introduction is essential. Captive conditions also can facilitate genetic mixing among ranaviruses, and evolution of more virulent strains. Eight years ago a new pathogenic chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans, Bsal) was discovered in Europe associated with die-offs of wild fire salamanders (Salamandra salamandra). Bsal can infect frogs and salamanders, but it is most pathogenic to the latter. The pathogen infects the skin and causes necrotic ulcerations that extend through the epidermis, ultimately compromising skin function which amphibians use for osmoregulation and respiration. The pathogen is currently only known to occur in Asia (likely origin) and Europe, and it could have devastating impacts on biodiversity if it is introduced in the USA. Of the 30 North American amphibian species tested, approximately 70% became infected and 30% developed the lethal disease, chytridiomycosis. Although both pathogens are notifiable by the World Animal Health Organization (OIE), few countries (including the USA) have
regulations requiring animal health certificates for wildlife, which facilitates global transport of these and other pathogens. Pet industries can play a major role in reducing the spread of ranaviruses and chytrid fungi by purchasing animals that have been verified as negative, voluntarily quarantining imported animals, designing captive housing so that isolation is possible if an outbreak occurs, and using disinfectants known to inactivate these pathogens. This talk will discuss the history and life cycle of ranaviruses and
Bsal, their prevalence in international trade, treatment options for infected animals, and how pet industries can play a role in reducing the spread of these pathogens.


Integrating Health & Disease Monitoring to Improve Conservation of Reptiles  

Matthew C. Allender, Wildlife Epidemiology Laboratory, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL

Deteriorating wildlife health threatens the sustainability and successfulness of conservation efforts. Hematologic, plasma biochemical, and pathogen prevalence data have been utilized as a means of determining the wellness of free-ranging reptile populations, but for the most part have not been critically evaluated. Infectious diseases have been proposed as a threat to biodiversity and affect free-ranging and captive reptiles. Upper Respiratory Tract pathogens result in significant morbidity and mortality in captive and free-ranging turtles and tortoises. Specifically, ranavirus, herpesvirus, and Mycoplasma have accounted for mortality events in US box turtle and tortoises, European tortoises, and South African tortoise. Lethal disease outbreaks have emerged across the eastern US in chelonians. Specifically, ranavirus and Mycoplasma have accounted for mortality events in box turtles and gopher tortoises in the eastern US. Moreover, herpesvirus infections have been demonstrated to be highly fatal in several captive US, European, and South African tortoise species, but its impact on other free-ranging North American chelonians is less well-described. Snake fungal disease, caused by the pathogen Ophidiomyces ophiodiicola, has been diagnosed in over 20 free-ranging and captive snake species dating back to the early 2000’s. The SFD clinical syndrome associated with O. ophiodiicola results in facial swelling and disfiguration, scale discoloration, granulomas, and dysecdysis. It is clear that a multi-modal approach to disease mitigation in reptiles will help to protect captive and free-ranging species. However, a proactive approach to disease management is needed for reptiles across the globe that takes into account testing, disinfection, and appropriate quarantine.


Emerging & Proactive Amphibian Disease Research Within the USGS: National Scale Surveillance for Bsal & Severe Perkinsea Parasitism

Daniel A. Grear, Wildlife Disease Ecologist, USGS, National Wildlife Health Center, Madison, WI

This presentation will briefly describe a review of 247 anuran mortality events in 43 states from 1999 –2015 and highlight a recent national-scale surveillance effort to detect the exotic fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bsal). Our review illustrated how emerging infectious diseases such as chytridiomycosis and ranavirus infections have been important contributors to the worldwide decline of amphibian populations. Our findings also revealed that a severe infectious disease of tadpoles caused by a protist belonging to the phylum Perkinsea represents the third most common infectious disease of anurans after ranavirus infections and chytridiomycosis in the U.S. Severe Perkinsea infections were systemic and led to multiorgan failure and high mortality rates in outbreaks from Alaska to Florida. The USGS National Wildlife Health Center (NWHC) and Amphibian Research and Monitoring Initiative (ARMI) collaborated to collect skin swab samples from over 10,000 salamanders across the US between January 2016 and December 2017. We did not detect Bsal using a dual Bsal – Batrachochytrium dendrobatis real-time PCR assay to test for the presence of chytrid DNA. The majority of samples from
the eastern and western U.S. were eastern newts (Notophthalmus viridescens) and Pacific newts (Taricha spp.), respectively. We tested species from other salamander and anuran genera including from sites where they were opportunistically available. Our surveillance effort increases confidence that
Bsal is not present in the U.S. but does not reduce future introduction risk. Continuous efforts will be necessary to (1) develop mitigation plans in the event of a
Bsal introduction, (2) increase knowledge of susceptible North American species, and (3) iteratively use surveillance information to direct ongoing monitoring to decrease the probability that we incur the most severe biodiversity consequences if Bsal exists undetected or is introduced into North America.

10:35 - 12:05 pm | Reptile & Amphibian Zoonoses

Moderator: Dr. Thomas Edling, DVM, MSpVM, MPH

Pet Industry Prevention & Management of Zoonotic Illness Outbreaks
Dr. Thomas Edling, DVM, MSpVM, MPH, Edling Consulting

This presentation will provide information on zoonotic disease resources the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC) has available to help understand zoonotic diseases and how to prevent them as well as protocols followed by PIJAC when an outbreak has been identified.  The zoonotic disease resources include information about zoonotic diseases commonly found in the pet industry and best management practices used by pet stores and pet industry animal breeders.  The presentation will also cover the protocols followed when a zoonotic disease outbreak has been identified in the pet industry and how PIJAC works in correlation with local, state and federal public health organizations starting with the initial investigation all the way through monitoring and remediation.  In addition, the presentation will provide specific examples of how PIJAC and public health agencies worked together to resolve zoonotic disease outbreaks.


Environmental Contamination with Salmonella enterica in Homes with Pet Reptiles, Minnesota 2003 - 2016 

Joni Scheftel, State Public Health Veterinarian & Supervisor of the Zoonotic Disease Unit, Minnesota Department of Health

In Minnesota, a median of 17 reptile-associated salmonellosis (RAS) cases are reported each year and 3.5% of salmonellosis cases can be attributed to reptiles [Whitten, 2014]. We sampled household surfaces in 16 homes of reptile-associated salmonellosis (RAS) cases in Minnesota to document the home environment as a potential source of Salmonella infection for RAS cases. We found Salmonella in 94% of sampled homes with reptile pets, including on common household surfaces; 16% of household surfaces tested were contaminated with Salmonella including locations in the home distant from the reptile habitat. Salmonella serotypes matching the RAS case and associated reptile by PFGE subtyping were found on 63% of Salmonella-positive household surfaces. The household environment was the most likely source of Salmonella infection in 9 (56%) RAS households in which cases denied having had direct contact with the reptile during the 7 days prior to illness onset. Four (44%) of these nine cases were under 1 year of age, lending credence to the CDC recommendation that households with children under the age of five not keep pet reptiles.


Reptile & Amphibian Zoonoses - Breeder Practices

John Mack, President & CEO and Laura Humphrey, Director of Operations, Reptiles By Mack

By establishing protocols for quarantine, sanitation, training, and education, breeders can promote health and safety of both people and animals. Husbandry guidelines, infection monitoring and control practices, record keeping, and a relationship with a veterinarian are all important aspects of any breeding facility. Providing education and training on zoonotic disease on both a staff level and customer level is equally as important.


Food and Drug Administration Product Recalls

Vic Boddie, FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine


12:05 - 1:30 pm | Lunch Break

PLEASE NOTE: Lunch will be provided onsite. Additional lunch options are limited to the cafeteria in the NOAA building which is a 5-minute walk, and several fast-casual options which are a 15-minute walk. 



1:30 - 3:00 pm | Public-Private Herp Conservation

Moderator: Cindy Steinle

The Amphibian & Reptile Conservancy - Conserving Herps on Many Levels

Scott Hardin, on behalf of the Amphibian & Reptile Conservancy


Overview of the Department of Defense Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (DoD PARC) Program

Chris Petersen and Rob Lovich, Department of Defense, Partners in Amphibian Conservation National Representatives

The Department of Defense (DoD) landscape is home to a significant and diverse array of amphibians and reptiles. These species are important for several reasons: they are a part of America's natural heritage, provide valuable indicators of ecosystem health, have scientific and medicinal value, are cultural icons, and in some cases are highly imperiled and legally protected. The DoD PARC program launched in 2009 to provide leadership, guidance, and support for the conservation and management of amphibians and reptiles on DoD lands in ways that help sustain the military’s testing, training and operational mission activities. DoD PARC is voluntary, proactive, and non-regulatory, and consists of military and civilian personnel including members of regional PARC networks. This presentation will provide an overview of the DoD PARC program and talk about the goals and objectives of the group. In addition, the many products produced by this group (including the Strategic Plan for Amphibian and Reptile Conservation and Management on Department of Defense Lands; photo website; webinars; training modules; and update of over 400 military installation herpetofauna species lists) will be discussed.


At-risk Species: Conservation on Large Private Working Forests

James F. Bullock, Senior Vice President, Forest Sustainability, Resource Management Service, LLC

Most forest land (approximately 70%) in the United States is privately owned.  This is especially true in the northeast and south where approximately 90% of all forest lands is in private ownership, including significant acreage of investment grade forestland managed by Real Estate Investment Trusts and Timber Management Organizations. It stands to reason that conservation of at-risk species, including herpetofauna species in the eastern US, will have greater success when private forestland owners are managing their forest lands in a manner that provides habitat for these species. A shared vision for conservation of herpetofauna must include collaboration and trust between private and public partners. This presentation discusses how Resource Management Service, LLC (RMS) is working to conserve at-risk species on the lands, with emphasis on two innovative initiatives.  The first is the Coastal Headwaters Longleaf Forest in lower Alabama and the Florida Panhandle, where RMS is working with numerous partners to restore up to 200,000 acres of longleaf pine as a working longleaf forest and a functional longleaf ecosystem.  The second is a national initiative where member companies of the National Alliance of Forest Owners, including RMS, are working proactively with the USFWS, state wildlife agencies, and other partners to position actively managed forests as contributing to the conservation of at-risk species, particularly species that need young forest, open canopy or riparian and aquatic habitats.


Public/Private Partnerships in Conservation... It's not what they think it is!

Curt Harbsmeier, Esq., Harbsmeier Law Group

What is “real” conservation?  Is it what the public thinks it is?  In all likelihood, the answer to that question is no.  This presentation will analyze various concepts associated with “conservation”, such as research, sustainable use, sustainable development, ecological restoration, captive breeding, and animal welfare.  We will highlight several joint ventures involving zoos, academia, industry, and the private sector.  And finally, we will discuss the future of collaborative efforts between zoos and the private sector. 



3:05 - 4:30 pm | Private Reptile Ownership

Moderator: Scott Hardin

The Importance of Herpetoculture in the 21st Century

Phil Goss, President, United States Association of Reptile Keepers

People who keep reptiles and amphibians are widely misunderstood, as are the animals they study, keep, and breed. Most of today’s educators, biologists, and ecologists were inspired toward their career paths through various educational animal outreach programs or their own interest in having an exotic or ectothermic pet. Herpetoculture goes far beyond the world of pets as it affects and informs many important aspects of our world, wildlife conservation, and culture.


Reptile Shows & the Industry - Raising Public Awareness & Perceptions of Captive Reptiles & the Hobby

Bob Ashley, National Amphibian & Reptile Breeders Conference, The Chiricahua Desert Museum

This presentation will describe the current state of public live reptile exhibitions, trade shows, expos, swaps and sales. Speaking from experience, the author will explore effects of these events on proposed reptile and amphibian regulation and legislation. In addition, the presentation will shed light on opportunities to interact with the public to increase awareness of reptiles and the issues and challenges facing the herp community.


Volunteer Herpetological Organizations & Their Role in the Community

Rich Crowley, President, Chicago Herpetological Society

Reptile and amphibian groups or more specifically, herpetological (herp) clubs and societies, have evolved in the last few decades. They have been centers for information exchange, social engagement, shared field activities, and even a necessary resource to local authorities and the general public. The Chicago Herpetological Society (CHS) is one of those organizations and has been around for over 50 years. Much like other non-for-profit organizations, including other herp societies, we have witnessed change over time. We saw numbers swell through years up until the 1990’s then a steady decline in membership. The level of engagement has experienced a commensurate decline over the years, primarily driven by the introduction of the Internet and the availability of information previously offered through face-to-face exchange. Interestingly, we have seen a growing demand for specialized services from both the general public and local authorities. This combination of shrinking membership with a unique demand for volunteer services is challenging us with figuring out how to adapt. The future for the CHS and other societies is largely dependent on the level of engagement by the next generation of herp enthusiasts. What I have seen so far is the level of commitment and engagement from our membership wane, as members grow distracted by other priorities. This could be associated with limited free time, commitment differences driven by generational differences, lack of access to field activities or overall changing attitudes. I will introduce the concept of a collective vision for herpetological clubs and societies to set a framework for how this role could foster partnerships with other stakeholders.


The Role of Reptile Rescues in the Herpetological Community

Emily Lilly, Director of Blue Ridge Reptile Rescue, Professor of Biology at the Virginia Military Institute

Reptile rescues serve important functions for both the herpetological community and for our wild reptile populations. Rescues provide shelter and adoption services, rehabilitation for animals who have been neglected by previous owners, and education to new owners. Importantly for wild populations, rescue services offer a safe place for people to leave unwanted animals, which prevents release of these animals into natural ecosystems. Rescues also provide community education regarding reptile keeping and respect for natural populations.


4:30pm | Closing Remarks


Limited shuttle service will be available on both days between The Hotel at UMD
and USDA APHIS Facility.


Morning Shuttles from The Hotel to Symposium at USDA APHIS:
* Shuttle to do 2 loops between The Hotel at UMD and USDA APHIS
  • Shuttle starts at 8:30am from The Hotel on 10/31 & 11/01.


NOTE: NO SHUTTLE SERVICE AT LUNCH BREAK for either day of the Symposium. Plan accordingly.

Lunch options are limited , and several fast-casual options are a 15-minute walk.
A catered lunch will be provided onsite for both days.


Afternoon Shuttles from USDA APHIS to The Hotel & Reception:
* Shuttle to do 2 loops between USDA APHIS and The Hotel at UMD 
  • Shuttle starts at end of final session for the day.



For your convenience, parking at a discounted rate of $7 is available at The Hotel at the University of Maryland.  Just present your Symposium ticket upon exit to receive the reduced rate. 

The Hotel at the University of Maryland
7777 Baltimore Ave
College Park, MD 20740

While parking is available at the USDA APHIS facility in the main parking lot, it is not necessarily convenient. When you arrive, press the button at the gate and let them know you are here for the Symposium if asked. Space may be limited and far away from the building.

Limited shuttle service will take attendees parking or staying at The Hotel to the Symposium and return to The Hotel at the end of the day's sessions.




Matt Allender is a wildlife veterinarian with expertise in reptile and amphibian health and disease. He directs the wildlife epidemiology lab, a collaborative research, diagnostic, and training lab at the University of Illinois. He is co-chair of the Disease Task Team of the Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation. His research focuses on the epidemiology of host-pathogen-environment interactions, including disease management through disinfection and treatment trials.

Wildlife Epidemiology Laboratory, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL



Bob Ashley was born and raised in Michigan and grew up in East Grand Rapids. Bob spent his youth catching turtles and snakes in the swamps and fields of Michigan. He was an active member of the Michigan Society of Herpetologists and started the company Exotics in 1984, supplying mostly pet shops in five states with imported and captive bred reptiles from around the globe. Bob started ECO Wear and Publishing in 1995 offering custom T-shirt designs, art and books and has to date published over 40 books on reptile and amphibian natural history and husbandry.  Bob Ashley is the Past President of the International Herpetological Symposium and the current Vice President. Along with partner Brian Potter, in 2001 Bob started the North American Reptile Breeders Conference and Trade Shows with annual events in Anaheim, CA, Arlington, Tx and Tinley Park, IL. In 2009 Bob opened the Chiricahua Desert Museum in Rodeo, New Mexico.  This facility is an educational exhibit of reptiles and amphibians from the Western Hemisphere associated with the deserts of the southwestern United States and Mexico with a focus on rattlesnakes of the Sky Islands.

NARBC, Chiricahua Desert Museum



Vic Boddie is a Consumer Safety Officer with FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine where his experiences are multifaceted, tackling a wide array of animal health and zoonotic issues.  Dr. Boddie is dedicated to CVM’s mission to protect human and animal health.  One of his main responsibilities is to facilitate the regulatory review process for the marketing of unapproved new animal drugs.  Within that role, Dr. Boddie works with industry leaders to ensure that animal drugs on the market are safe and effective.  Vic is also a subject matter expert on zoonotic issues involving turtle-associated salmonellosis. By working extensively with the Center for Disease Control and other states and local public health authorities, he provides regulatory insight and investigational support when monitoring outbreak events.  Dr. Boddie finds it imperative to provide awareness to the general public on the risk that small turtles pose to children and immunocompromised individuals, and therefore he enjoys public outreach opportunities.  He was also featured on FDA’s Consumer Updates webpage for turtles, where he discusses the risk of turtle-associated salmonellosis. Dr. Boddie earned his doctorate degree in Biology with a concentration in Microbiology from Howard University and his bachelor’s degree from Hampton University in Virginia.  He is an avid fan of the Washington Redskins and currently resides in Maryland with his wife and 2-year old son.

Consumer Safety Officer
FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine



Jimmy Bullock oversees sustainable forestry and environmental policy and programs and advocacy on forestry issues for RMS-managed timberlands in the U. S. in his role as Senior Vice President, Forest Sustainability for Resource Management Service, LLC (RMS).  He also has responsibility for forest certification and audit programs and leads environmental, social and governance initiatives for RMS-managed timberlands globally. Jimmy serves on the Board of Directors of the Amphibian and Reptile Conservancy, National Conservation Leadership Institute, Catch-A-Dream Foundation, Mississippi Wildlife Federation, Forest Landowner’s Association, and the North American Forest Partnership. Jimmy earned his B.S. degree in Forestry in 1980 and his M.S. degree in Wildlife Ecology from Mississippi State in 1982. He is a Certified Wildlife Biologist, Mississippi Registered Forester, Society of American Foresters Certified Forester, and a Professional Member of the Boone and Crockett Club. In 1994, Jimmy was presented the prestigious American Forest and Paper Association’s Forest Stewardship Award for his leadership role in conservation of the Louisiana Black Bear. In 2017 Jimmy was honored as recipient of the Quality Deer Management Association’s Joe Hamilton Lifetime Achievement Award and the Wildlife Management Institute’s George Bird Grinnell Award for Distinguished Service to Natural Resources Conservation, both of which are the highest individual honors bestowed by the respective organizations.

Senior Vice President, Forest Sustainability, Resource Management Service, LLC 



Michael Cole has been a reptile keeper and enthusiast for 43 of his 47 years. Over his career, Michael has assembled an impressive variety of reptiles and amphibians that rivals major zoo collections: venomous snakes, Crocodilians, pythons, Boas, Colubrids, chameleons, monitor lizards, skinks, geckos, tortoises, turtles, frogs, salamanders,  and even scorpions and spiders. Michael runs Ballroom Pythons South with his wife, Lisa, and 14-year old amphibian specialist (and son😊) Bodie. Ballroom Pythons South specializes in breeding Ball Pythons and importing, breeding and exporting specialized Indonesian reptiles. Michael’s reptile collection, both normal size and color individuals as well as pattern and dwarf mutations, are frequently on breeding loan at other licensed facilities in the U.S. and Indonesia. During recent travels to Indonesia, Michael has discovered undescribed species of Indonesian reptiles, which led to the creation of the Wildlife Exploration Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to working with industry, the Indonesian government and CITES to establish a program for the conservation of these discoveries.

Owner/Operator, Ballroom Pythons South



Richard B. Crowley volunteers as President of the Chicago Herpetological Society and IS employed as a financial and regulatory expert with over twenty years’ experience working in the federally funded, research and development sector for one of the nation’s premier National Laboratories. Since the mid-1990s, Rich has been involved with educating the public on reptile and amphibian captive care and conservation, participated in thousands of animal rescue activities and provides support to law enforcement and other authorities in the State of Illinois when reptiles and amphibians are involved.

President, Chicago Herpetological Society



Thomas M. Edling, DVM, MSpVM, MPH is the co-chair of the PIJAC zoonoses committee and a veterinary consultant for PIJAC.   Dr. Edling has worked in private general veterinary practice and has owned his own exotic animal veterinary practice.  He also worked as a veterinary clinician for the University of Wisconsin College of Veterinary Medicine Teaching Hospital.  He served as the Vice President of Veterinary Medicine for Petco Animal Supplies, Inc. for 15 years.  He is currently President and CEO of Edling Consulting, LLC providing consulting services to the Pet and Veterinary Industries.  As a veterinarian he has been directly involved in improving the health and welfare of animals in the pet industry for over 20 years and works closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians (NASPHV).

Edling Consulting, LLC; Co-chair of PIJAC zoonoses committee and a veterinary consultant for PIJAC



Kipp Frohlich is the Director of the Division of Habitat and Species Conservation in the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).  He has a M.S. in Wildlife Ecology from the University of Florida and B.S. in Biology from Furman University.   He has over 30 years’ experience working to conserve Florida’s wildlife; working for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Florida Department of Natural Resources, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the FWC since its inception in 1999.   Kipp has extensive experience in management of high profile species including manatees, marine turtles, panthers and bears, as well as the human dimensions of wildlife management.  Current areas of focus include establishment of critical wildlife areas and addressing impacts of invasive species.

Director, Habitat & Species Conservation, Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission



Phil Goss has served as the President of USARK since 2013. During this time, USARK has seen unprecedented successes for an advocacy organization of its size, limited resources, and short history. Phil has authored language which has turned into law at multiple levels of government and worked diligently to protect the freedoms of responsible herpetoculturists. USARK and the Reptile Nation have witnessed dozens of victories over the last six years, and Phil has expanded their undertakings into related regulatory issues such as CITES and the Endangered Species Act. Phil has made certain that USARK does more than just combat overreaching laws, promoting educational outreach and reptile conservation efforts in several ways, including helping to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars in support. Phil’s dedication to herpetoculture stems from being a reptile keeper and breeder for over twenty years, having bred dozens of species under his care.

President, United States Association of Reptile Keepers



Matt Gray is a wildlife disease ecologist with expertise in amphibian pathogens. He is co-chair of the Technical Advisory Committee of the North America Bsal Task Force and serves on the Research and Management Working Groups of the Task Force. He is co-chair of the Disease Task Team of the Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation, and is the past director of the Global Ranavirus Consortium, Inc. His research focuses on understanding host-pathogen interactions, and devising strategies to prevent amphibian disease outbreaks.   

Center for Wildlife Health, Institute of Agriculture, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN



Daniel Grear is interested in mechanisms that cause heterogeneities in pathogen transmission in wild animal disease systems and at the interface of wildlife, domestic animal, and human health. Dan works for the US Geological Survey, National Wildlife Health Center where he leads investigations into wildlife mortality events and conducts research on wildlife diseases. His research spans 3 broad themes (i) describe patterns of wildlife mortality resulting from novel and emerging diseases, (ii) develop applied statistical and mathematical models to forecast host and pathogen population processes in wildlife, and (iii) incorporate evolutionary principles into application of genomic data to understanding patterns and consequences of wildlife disease. Dan coordinates and leads research into amphibian diseases as a member of the USGS Amphibian Research and Monitoring Initiative, including a large-scale surveillance effort for the exotic salamander fungus Batrochocytrium salamandrivorans (Bsal). Dan received his BS and MS in Wildlife Ecology from the University of Wisconsin, and my PhD in Ecology from Pennsylvania State University.  Before joining the US Geological Survey, he worked for the US Department of Agriculture where he worked on livestock-wildlife interface issues, focusing on cervid diseases.

Wildlife Disease Ecologist, USGS, National Wildlife Health Center, Madison, WI



Christopher Petersen is a Senior Natural Resources Specialist at Naval Facilities Engineering Command Atlantic and the Department of Defense Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (DoD PARC) National Representative. He earned a B.S. and M.S in Biological Sciences (1993, 1995) from Old Dominion University where he studied the movement patterns and habitat use of Copperheads (Agkistrodon contortrix). After graduating, he worked seven years for the Old Dominion University Research Foundation studying the movement patterns of Timber Rattlesnakes (Crotalus horridus) on a naval installation in Virginia. Chris is a graduate of the Navy Professional Development Center Program and the Leadership Development Program. He served on the Herpetologists’ League Board of Trustees in 2016 and 2017 and is currently the junior co-chair for the national Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (PARC) group. His research interests are focused on the conservation and management of amphibians and reptiles on military lands.

National Representative for the Dept. of Defense Partners in Amphibian Reptile Conservation (DoD PARC)



Amneris Siaca is a wildlife biologist in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's office responsible for implementing an international permit program, which includes monitoring trade, coordinating inspections with enforcement officials, providing technical assistance, and representing the United States at CITES meetings. She received her Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of Puerto Rico and her Master of Science in Biology from George Mason University.

Wildlife Biologist, Branch of Permits, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service



Jon Siemien is a biologist with the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s International Affairs program under the CITES Division of Scientific Authority.  Mr. Siemien is responsible for scientific evaluations and recommendations for the Service pursuant to issues faced by the U.S. related to the countries’ responsibilities under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Before joining the USFWS in 2010 Jon worked in the District of Columbia government as the Chief of the Fisheries Program for 16 years and Acting Program Manager for the Fisheries and Wildlife Division for an additional 2 years.  In these positions he performed fieldwork on numerous resident and transient species in fisheries, herp and bird surveys, as well as representing the District’s wildlife in numerous local, regional and national forums.  Mr. Siemien’s educational background includes a BA in Psychology and BS in Zoology from the University of Maryland, an MS in Fisheries from Frostburg State and coursework and research towards a Ph.D. at Penn State.  He is an avid outdoorsman who enjoys backpacking, scuba diving, sailing and photography.

Fisheries Biologist, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, International Affairs Program, Division of Scientific Authority



Curt Harbsmeier is an attorney in central Florida with a lifelong passion for wildlife and conservation.  He has worked with captive wildlife for over 30 years.  He is an Executive Board Member of ZooTampa at Lowry Park and is involved in numerous conservation organizations and activities.  Curt is also currently the Vice Chairman, Legal Affairs, Steering Committee, of the IUCN-SSC Crocodile Specialist Group.

Harbsmeier Law Group



Scott Hardin has been a scientific consultant to PIJAC since 2012, assisting staff in exotic and invasive species issues, zoonotic disease prevention and management, and establishing scientific foundations to facilitate policy development. Before his work with PIJAC, Scott worked as a biologist for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission in a variety of areas including fisheries research, aquatic education and exotic species management.

Science Advisor, Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council



Wayne Hill has been a reptile breeder for fifty years. He currently works with fifty species of turtles, seven of which are endangered species. Wayne has been a spokesperson for the herpetological community regarding both state and national regulations and laws. He has been awarded the Golden Circle Award from PIJAC; the Joseph Laszlo Award presented by the International Herpetological Symposium; and the Dr. Barbara Bonner Award presented by the Asian Turtle Consortium.

Director, National Reptile Breeders' Expo , Wayne Hill-Reptile Breeder, LLC



Joshua Jones serves as PIJAC's Deputy Director of Government Affairs. In addition to working on legislative and regulatory issues impacting all aspects of the pet industry, such as spearheading the trade's efforts leading up to and after the Las Vegas, NV City Council's retail pet sale ban repeal, Josh leads PIJAC’s herp-related legislative, regulatory, education, and engagement efforts, and is the staff liaison to PIJAC’s Herp Subcommittee. Jones, the owner of two crested geckos, a French bulldog, a Boston Terrier, and freshwater fish, told Pet Age Magazine that “the passion and dedication” of pet professionals “to their businesses and to animal welfare” is his favorite part of working with the responsible pet industry. Jones earned a Bachelor’s degree in Government and Politics from the University of Maryland, College Park in 2002.

Deputy Director, Government Affairs, Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council



John B. Jensen is a Senior Wildlife Biologist with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Conservation Section, specializing in amphibian and reptile conservation. John previously worked as a Project Manager/Ecologist for the Florida Natural Areas Inventory in the Florida panhandle. He has conducted on surveys and inventories of rare and endangered amphibians and reptiles in Georgia, Florida, and Alabama for the US Forest Service and US Fish and Wildlife Service.  John has authored or co-authored over 150 scientific papers, notes, and book chapters and is the lead editor and author of “Amphibians and Reptiles of Georgia,” (University of Georgia Press). He received the 2015 Alison Haskell Award for Excellence in Herpetofaunal Conservation, presented annually by Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation to recognize an individual in North America who exemplifies extraordinary commitment to herpetofaunal conservation.

Senior Wildlife Biologist, Georgia Department of Natural Resources' Wildlife Conservation Section



Bryan Landry is a Senior Special Agent (SSA) with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) Office of Law Enforcement (OLE). Brian started his career in 2004 as a Wildlife Inspector and later as a Special Agent with broad experience conducting complex wildlife trafficking investigations throughout multiple regions of the United States, including stations in Atlanta, GA; Boston, MA; Phoenix, AZ; and Honolulu, HI.  Bryan’s career highlights highlights include lead investigative and undercover work with marine mammal ivory trafficking; endangered species take including wind power take and habitat destruction; illegal commercialization of native fish; and international smuggling and trafficking of rhino horns, elephant ivory, shark fins, live reptiles, native caviar, native cacti, and desert big horn sheep trophies.  SSA Landry now works within the OLE International Operations Unit and helps manage international investigations and capacity building efforts through a network of FWS Special Agent Attaches, stationed at U.S. Embassies in Beijing, Bangkok, Dar es Salaam, Gaborone, Libreville, Lima and Mexico City.

Senior Special Agent, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Law Enforcement



Dr. Emily Lilly is the Director of Blue Ridge Reptile Rescue and a Professor of Biology at the Virginia Military Institute.  She has over three decades of experience working with reptiles and has cared for hundreds of animals.  Blue Ridge Reptile Rescue is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit rescue located in western Virginia, providing sheltering, adoption services, and emergency care for reptiles and amphibians in need. 

Director of Blue Ridge Reptile Rescue and Professor of Biology at Virginia Military Institute



Robert Lovich is a Senior Natural Resources Specialist at Naval Facilities Engineering Command Southwest and the Department of Defense Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (DoD PARC) National Technical Representative.  He earned a B.S. from the University of Hawaii (1996), and M.S and Ph.D. from Loma Linda University (1999, 2009). His M.S. thesis was on the phylogeography of the Granite Night Lizard (Xantusia henshawi), and Ph.D. on the conservation genetics of the endangered Arroyo Toad (Anaxyrus californicus). Robert is an Associate Editor, and Communications Editor for Herpetological Conservation and Biology. When not working on his muscle cars, or hanging out with his family, his work and interests include: (1) natural history and evolution of herpetofauna; (2) endangered species conservation; and (3) integrating science into natural resource management.

Representative for the Dept. of Defense Partners in Amphibian Reptile Conservation (DoD PARC)



John Mack grew up with a fascination for animals, reptiles in particular. He has grown his passion from a hobby to one of the largest and most respected reptile businesses in the world. John serves as Vice-Chair on the Board of Directors for PIJAC where he represents reptile owners here in the USA and helps to protect their rights to keep these amazing animals as pets. He participates in many committees within PIJAC including the Zoonotic Disease Committee, Small Animal Care Committee, Herp Committee, Legislative Affairs Committee, and the CDC Zoonotic Education Committee. He also writes a monthly article in PetAge Magazine educating and informing pet store owners on how to best care for and sell reptiles as pets.

President & CEO, Reptiles By Mack



Craig Martin received his Bachelor of Science in wildlife management from West Virginia University and Masters of Science in fish biology from Oklahoma State University.  Craig has a broad experience in salmon restoration from Chinook salmon in the Central Valley of California to Atlantic salmon in Lake Champlain, Vermont, and salmon and steelhead in the Columbia River Basin.  He has been involved in aquatic invasive species management, including the development and implementation of a long-term program of sea lamprey control in Lake Champlain.  As Chief of the Branch of Aquatic Invasive Species for the last nine years, Craig has overseen the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s program to prevent and control aquatic invasive species.  Craig has worked for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for 23 years.

Chief, Branch of Aquatic Invasive Species, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service



At heart, Dede Olson is an ecologist devoted to natural resource sustainability. Although she’s worked with every vertebrate class, she has a focus on amphibians. Her bachelor’s degree at University of California, San Diego intersected the first Conservation Biology Conference there in 1978, catalyzing her passion for biodiversity conservation. Her Ph.D. from the Zoology Department at Oregon State University in 1988 brought Pacific Northwest amphibians into the foreground. As a Forest Service researcher, she leads the Aquatic Ecology and Management Team, spanning Alaska, Washington, and Oregon. The team: 1) conducts basic science research on aquatic species, habitats, and processes; 2) conducts applied research and develops integrated management alternatives; and 3) creates models, databases, synthesis, and other tools to bridge the science-management interface. Dede’s research portfolio echoes these topics with an emphasis on understanding the biology, ecology, and threats to amphibians and reptiles; she has >150 research publications. She serves as courtesy faculty at Oregon State University, Associate Editor for the diseases section of Herpetological Review, co-leads an international group on aquatic biodiversity in forests (IUFRO), is the USA representative to the Amphibian Specialist Group of the World Conservation Union (IUCN), and is past-President of the Society for Northwestern Vertebrate Biology, past Co-Chair of Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (national and regional groups), and past co-lead of the Bsal Technical Advisory Group of the Bsal Task Force –helping to organize the North American response to Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans.

USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station, Corvallis, OR



Jhoset A. Burgos Rodriguez serves as the National Invasive Species Council (NISC) Secretariat’s Senior Legal and Policy Analyst. He has experience working on invasive species from research, management, and policy perspectives. His graduate research focused on the effect of invasive reptiles in tropical ecosystems. He has worked for the University of Puerto Rico Zoological Museum, the University of Rhode Island, and served as a Sea Grant Knauss Fellow at the Department of the Interior Office of Insular Affairs. Jhoset received his M.S. in Ecology and Ecosystem Sciences from the University of Rhode Island and a B.S. in Integrative Biology from the University of Puerto Rico Rio Piedras. Currently, he is working towards his J.D. at the University of Puerto Rico Law School.

National Invasive Species Council (NISC) Secretariat's Senior Legal & Policy Analyst



Joni Scheftel is Minnesota’s State Public Health Veterinarian and she leads the Zoonotic Diseases Unit at the Minnesota Department of Health. Dr. Scheftel serves as a liaison between the Department of Health and Minnesota’s animal health agencies for issues involving human health and animal health. She was a co-founder of the Compendium of Veterinary Standard Precautions for Zoonotic Disease Prevention in Veterinary Personnel, the first veterinary standard precautions guidance. Dr. Scheftel is currently working on several projects at the intersection of animal health and human health, including working with a group of Minnesota human, animal and environmental health professionals to help start and grow the “Minnesota One Health Antibiotic Stewardship Collaborative.”

State Public Health Veterinarian and Supervisor of the Zoonotic Diseases Unit, Minnesota Department of Health



Cindy Steinle is currently a member of the Chicago Herpetological Society (formerly its Vice President) and serves as the social community director for, the oldest online reptile community. Cindy is a volunteer with several organizations including her own reptile and amphibian rescue, Small Scale Reptile Rescue, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where she works with local shelters, agencies, and organizations to provide rescue services for her community. She was a member of the advisory board of the International Herpetological Symposium and is an educational volunteer for the International Reptile Conservation Foundation speaking on conservation issues. In her role, she has spoken on behalf of the reptile community in an effort to prevent unfair ownership laws in local, state and federal arenas. She is a noted speaker on the role of women in herpetology, and also serves on the board of directors of Chicagoland Bully Breed Rescue. 

Social Community Director, and Member, Chicago Herpetological Society


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