CALM - Snakes Harmful and HarmlessTM - WASAH


Ctenotus maryani Aplin & Adams, 1998

Photo by Brad Maryan

Aplin, K.P. & Adam, M. 1998. Morphological and genetic discrimination of new species and subspecies of gekkonid and scincid lizards (Squamata: Lacertilia) from the Carnarvon Basin region of Western Australia. Roy. Soc. West. Aust. 81:201-223


HISTORY

The Western Australian Society of Amateur Herpetologists Inc (WASAH) originated on 16 November 1990 outside the Court of Petty Sessions, Kalgoorlie, Western Australia. Officers of the WA wildlife authority, the Department of Conservation and Land Management (CALM), suggested the only way to improve the untenable position WA amateur herpetologists experience was to become an organised group and negotiate with CALM to install a workable system that would cater to our needs. On that day in November four amateur herpetologists were present, by 2000 the membership had grown to over 200.

We lobbied all and sundry for support. Our primary objective was for CALM to allow the keeping of legally obtained reptiles and frogs, as currently is the case with birds and fish. The WASAH Executive and Liaison Subcommittee met with the Minister, Cheryl Edwardes and CALM’s Wildlife Branch Manager Gordon Wyre at Parliament House on 12 November ‘98. At this meeting both the Minister and Mr Wyre gave WASAH an undertaking to change the WA Wildlife Regulations in advance of completion of the new Wildlife Conservation Bill. The Minister also made a commitment to provide the resources for this to occur as quickly as possible to allow a keeping system to be established.

On 17 November, 1, 15 December ‘98 and 5 January ‘99 we had meetings with Gordon Wyre, David Mell and Peter Mawson at CALM’s Como Wildlife Branch to assist in the development of a draft public comment document. As they also demonstrated by their comments at this time that they had already given considerable thought to a reptile/amphibian keeping system, they were deserving of our accolades and commendation. We were elated, with much praise for CALM, the society’s subcommittee and executive for making this a reality. It was a historical first - both organisations working positively together towards a common goal.

Basically, the system we are working on is the best of those operating in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia. WASAH and CALM are fine tuning the public comment document at present and hope, if we do not complete it by then, that at least most of the work towards it will be finished by Christmas. Keep in mind though that it will still have to run the gauntlet of others who may not share our enthusiasm for keeping and instead may downright oppose the whole thing during the public discussion process.

The system CALM proposes will be five tiered as follows: Exempt from licensing, Basic, Standard, Advanced and Expert. Initially no Exempt from Licensing Category will operate. As in Victoria and South Australia pet shops will be participating.


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The public discussion period commenced on 23 December 2000 and finished on 28 February 2001 - from comments by CALM personnel it appears that, by far, the majority of submissions supported the proposed system. Gordon Wyre expected the draft legislation to go to the minister in early June for tabling in parliament shortly after. - The minister advised WASAH in early August 2001 that the state elections interfered with the discussion period causing a request by some people for an extension of time to submit their comments. This delayed things.

20 SEPTEMBER '02 - THE MINISTER RELEASED TO THE MEDIA HER ACCEPTANCE OF THE DRAFT REPTILE AND FROG KEEPING LEGISLATION. THE LEGISLATION BECAME LAW AND LICENCES TO KEEP LEGALLY ACQUIRED HERPETOFAUNA BECAME AVAILABLE IN 2003! YOU BEAUTY!!! Copy of Press Release

Previous and current members of WASAH received a special newsletter shortly after to arrange a meeting to discuss the future direction of WASAH. Now that Western Australia had a keeping system, it was difficult to reinvigorate enthusiasm to take the society forward in a new direction as a keepers' club.

WASAH was formally dissolved on 30 May 2005. It was decided by the Executive and 2005 financial members at a Special Meeting on 15 April '05 to disband the society. At a previous special meeting on 11 July '04 it was voted to keep WASAH going, however it has been difficult to maintain the society's momentum in any form in 2005, therefore it was not possible to continue.

On 2 April '05 the executive, in place when the society went into recess immediately prior the new keeping system, decided to wind up the society and to return 2005 memberships, and also provide them with the latest Herpetofauna free of charge as consolation. Also, at this meeting, the executive voted to contribute excess funds, after clearing outstanding debts, to the University of Western Australia's Hackett Foundation.

A special meeting of financial members and the Executive was held on Friday 15 April 2005 at Herp Headquarters, 169 Egina Street, Mt Hawthorn commencing at 7.00 pm to formally wind up WASAH. This motion was passed unopposed.

Thank you to everyone that has participated in WASAH business since its inception all those years ago. The executive wishes to convey their sincerest apologies to all those people that had paid their memberships for 2005.

REPTILES AS PETS IN WA - YOU BEAUTY!


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