(Photo credit:”Uroplatus fimbriatus” by Tim Vickers)
Reptile Keepers, United We Stand & Divided We Fall
Many would like to see reptile keeping efforts fail altogether. As USARK stand at the front lines of this battle, it’s essential that the reptile community remains united and strong. We have a responsibility to remain as professional as possible while representing this community during these hard times. There are two significant factors that greatly influence our ongoing struggles as reptile keepers.
2015 Hudson Valley Reptile Expo
The Reptile Community as a Whole
Think big, not small! If the organizations that want to see us fail were looking for ways to make that happen, in a divided community they do not have to look far. When a group is divided, often one group member will be publically attacking another group member. Since everyone in the community depends on one another, this is just attacking yourself. Negative events such as this are ammo for the people that want that group to fail. It only takes one negative event to take the attention away from countless other great events in the community. A very wise man and mentor of mine once told me, “You go through life collecting “that a boy!!!” [compliments] and but when you mess up once, that’s what they remember you for! Don’t forget that!” This is the same for our group. One negative event can ruin so much. Everyone’s actions throughout the reptile community directly reflect the collective image of reptile keepers in general. Do not spread negativity within the community. When dealing with situations in which someone needs help or we see something concerning, we must be very cautious how we handle it because our future as reptile keepers really does depend on it. In the video below, Raphy Martinez helps shed light on the impact of negatively compared to positivity in the reptile community.
Always Lead By Example
This brings us to the second factor that can significantly impact the community many have worked so hard to build and maintain. We need to lead by example. Actions really do speak louder than words. We are often too impatient when confronted with repeated concerns from newcomers and honest people making mistakes. Nobody is perfect; if somebody told you different, they are lying. We forget that they are there because they genuinely need help and are passionate about their involvement in the community. In some instances, there are people who deliberately post controversial material to encourage harsh words and negativity. Do not give them the satisfaction by giving them attention. That is their goal; simply ignore them. They continue doing what they do, because they get attention, whether it be positive or negative. How we handle these types of situations are looked at as examples for others to follow. When we are harsh to newcomers, they are likely to someday be in the position to share their knowledge as well. They are likely do so in a similar harsh manner. Once again actions can speak much louder than words. Lead by an exceptional example and others will do the same. Mark Perpetua can been seen in the photo to the left holding one of his alligators during a charity presentation for Reptifest 2015 in New York (Photo Credit: Emily Numbers)
Does it really “come with the territory?”
Often we hear, “it comes with the territory” while discussing our concerns with other members of the reptile community. To some, this a statement of defeat. I feel that we can refuse to believe that certain negativity from within the community cannot be changed. We do not have to accept that these things will always “come with the territory.” Through leading by a positive example, as well as always considering the reptile community as a whole, our reptile community can become an even more amazing place to be a part of.
More About Reptiles!
If you would like to see some amazing reptiles, check out the videos below!