Green Anole – © TJ Hilliard
Why herps are important
noun | \ˌhərp\
A “herp” is a reptile or amphibian.
Reptiles and amphibians (collectively known as “herps,” even though the two groups are not closely related) are important components of ecosystems. They fill critical roles in food webs (what eats what) as both predators and prey, and feature prominently in many facets of human history and culture, including medical research. Herps are particularly sensitive to habitat disturbance, and reptile and amphibian abundance and diversity are often indicative of overall ecosystem health. Amphibians, in particular, are excellent bio-indicators because their porous skins are in direct contact with air, water, and soil. These are reasons why recent indications of worldwide declines of reptiles and amphibians have the potential for devastating consequences.
North Carolina Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (NCPARC) is North Carolina’s own official state chapter of the successful worldwide organization Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (PARC). We are part of the Southeast regional working group of PARC (SEPARC). Like our parent organization, NCPARC unifies members from all walks of life under one banner: that of the conservation of amphibians and reptiles and their habitats. We the members of NCPARC hail from academia, state and federal agencies, research facilities, nature education centers, land trusts, municipalities, zoos, veterinary fields, forest products industries, energy cooperatives, conservation organizations, herpetological societies, pet trade industries, museums, and even your own neighborhoods.
Ours is a unique conservation network because:
- NCPARC includes conservation of all reptiles and amphibians;
- NCPARC is focused on conserving the habitats herps require for survival;
- NCPARC includes all individuals, organizations, and agencies that have an interest in reptile and amphibian conservation;
- NCPARC focuses not only on endangered and threatened species, but also on keeping common native species common.