Why is Conservation important?
Conservation of herpetofauna (reptile and amphibian species of a particular region) and biodiversity (the number of different species in a particular region) is a key element of the RECF’s mission. Reptile and amphibian species, like many others, are being threatened around the world due to human activities, including:
- Habitat destruction (e.g., urban development, deforestation, agriculture)
- Removal of wild animals for the exotic pet trade
Along with supporting conservation education in schools and beyond, RECF directly participates in conservation efforts, both locally by collaborating with the local community to help threatened local species, and globally by supporting international conservation and bio-research initiatives.
While there are not nearly as many reptile and amphibian species in North America as other continents due to the cold weather, they still play a vital role in local ecosystems. And, just like herpetofauna all over the world, many local species populations are at risk.
A number of native turtles species are threatened due to various human activities, such as habitat destruction and the introduction of foreign species that compete with local turtles for resources. RECF is dedicated to working with local communities, in particular with the aboriginal communities in the area, to help protect native turtle species from possible extinction.
Rainforests, which are not found locally but in South and Central Americas, are home to an extraordinary number of reptile and amphibian species. For this reason, RECF’s range of conservation efforts expands beyond local regions in these tropical areas.
RECF is a sponsor of COTERC, the Canadian Organization for Tropical Education and Rainforest Conservation, which has a biological research station in the Caño Palma region of Costa Rica. This area is one of the most biologically rich ecosystems in Costa Rica and contains the nesting sites of globally endangered sea turtle species: green, loggerhead, leatherback, and hawksbill. Among their many ongoing conservation efforts, COTERC has long-term monitoring projects for local sea turtles and caimans and provides conservation education for schools in that region.
RECF is in the process of initiating a habitat restoration project in Costa Rica. The goal is to restore a piece of land formerly used as a fish farm back into a natural ecosystem. This project will provide an opportunity to collaborate with researchers to study the process of how plants and animal repopulate an area formerly contained little to no species.