Thursday, April 26, 2012

Photoshoot @ Jerry "The Snakeman" Hillard's House

A friend of mine has a business performing educational shows with various snake species at events around the area. He can be booked to headline or run small shows. I put out a feeler two weeks ago, looking for anyone that possessed hybrid herps (interspecific, intra-specific, or intergeneric). I was invited over to shoot some of the species he works with. Here is a small selection of the many shots I took of his collection within two hours time. (note: a post/Q&A with Jerry about his business will be up shortly)

If you like the work, I can come and take photos of your collection for your business or personal use. Please inquire for pricing/contract at:

Monday, April 23, 2012

Dr. Michael Tyler & Australian Herps

Dr. Michael Tyler is a well-known Australian amphibian specialist, an author of numerous books and papers, and has had the distinct honor of hosting the Second World Congress of Herpetology. Here are a few words with that host.
What sparked your interest in reptiles/amphibians?
Dr. Michael Tyler: A childhood interest in natural history which led to a fascination with entomology at first, and then to frogs.
Hypsiboas rosenbergi - Gladiator Tree Frog (Costa Rica)
© Chris Carille Photography
Were your parents or friends influential in your decision to go into herpetology as a profession?

     No one influenced me! I was an amateur in the early days until I was appointed lecturer in Zoology and was able to devote all my research interests to frog topics.

What led your interests towards amphibians specifically?

    Working at the British Museum with an Emeritus Curator who regretted being too old to travel to Australia and New Guinea, where he anticipated there must be a large number of undescribed frogs new to science.

If you were not into herpetology, what would you be doing?

© Chris Carille Photography
    Selling old and antiquarian books!

That is definitely a different profession! Where is your favorite herping spot in the world?

   The Kimberley, in NW Australia because so much of it is still unexplored.

Litoria spledida - Magnificent Green Tree Frog
Photo courtesy of the Australian Wildlife Conservancy
What herp in the wild still sends your excitement levels through the roof?

    Litoria splendida (The Magnificent Tree Frog which I found and first described!)

I think I'd still be pretty excited to find a herp I had discovered. 
Do you keep a life list?

    No I don’t.

Is there any country/area that is at the top of your list to visit/herp still? Why?

   New Guinea because there is still so much to be discovered there.

Rhacophorus dulitensis - Jade Tree Frog (Borneo)
I had a graduate professor perform his research in New Guinea - he would tell all sorts of stories about how remote field sites were. 
You set a precedent at the second World Congress of Herpetology by keeping it out of the red and turning a profit. How important was that standard you set towards the WCH reaching its goals?

                     It was important to me as it needed to be successful if WCH was to have a great future.  However, I don’t think too many people realised just what a challenge it was!
Agalychnis callidryas - Red-eyed Tree Frog (Costa Rica)
A favorite among amphibian enthusiasts.
© Chris Carille Photography

Do you keep any herps as personal pets? If so, what species and any favorites?
I have a variety of frogs as “pets” and my favourites are Litoria splendida and Litoria caerulea.

Any crazy herping stories (I had a snapper almost bite through my finger once while trying to photograph it)?

Not that I can recall although most field trips have had their moments!

8 species of frog have gone extinct in the last 25 years in Australia, which species do you feel are currently of most concern?

This is incorrect!  Only three have become extinct and I can’t prioritise the others.

Some misinformation on my part. I'm glad you corrected that. 
What is the number one conservation threat to Australia’s endangered species? (invasives, pollution, collection, habitat destruction, Bd fungus)

Bufo (Rhinella) marinus - Cane Toad (Costa Rica)
An destructive invasive in Australia.
© Chris Carille Photography
Probably Bd fungus.

Bd fungus seems to be a huge threat to all amphibian populations. Hopefully, a cure can be found.
In 2003 and 2004, you performed research on odors produced by frogs – I’d imagine smelling frogs had to be the hardest time spent in a lab?

No, it wasn’t at all difficult! I had known for a long time that I had a keen sense of smell and often identified frogs by their odors. I had a PhD student who also had an excellent sense of smell so we both enjoyed the work which led to the award of the IgNobel Prize at Harvard!
Hyla arenicolor - Canyon Tree Frog (Arizona)

Impressive! I'm not sure I could stomach smelling so many frogs.
What’s the best avenue people from outside Australia can help protect Australia’s amphibians?

To encourage captive breeding.

Has there been anyone you’ve really enjoyed collaborating with in your research? Why?

Ben Smith, the PhD student mentioned earlier who had a truly brilliant mind and was great to work with because he had so many ideas that we developed together.  He was the most outstanding student I have ever met and we achieved a great deal together because he was head-hunted and went to Europe!!

Who would win in a herp id’ing contest, you or [Australian herpetologist] Hal Cogger?
I have no idea!

Haha. Probably an unfair question putting you on the spot.
Australia has pretty strict importation and exportation laws regarding its wildlife. Do you think the increase of interest in the herp-keeping hobby has helped or hindered reptile &  amphibian conservation?

Rheobatrachus silus - Gastric Brooding Frog
Cares for its young in its stomach.
I doubt whether herp-keeping has had much of an impact in Australia, with the possible exception of Rheobatrachus which is so popular that over-collecting is a real threat to its existence in the world.

Anything else you’d like to share?

 No, apart from the fact that herpetology has given me a wonderful life and I could not imagine anything better if I had my life starting all over again!

The threatened species and ecological communities in Australia: Threatened Species
The amphibian research center for Australia: ARC
Western Australia Museum's Frog Watch: Frog Watch

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Ashok Captain, Herp Photography, & his Love for India

Ashok Captain is a world renowned herp photographer and Indian snake enthusiast. Read on to learn about some of favorite spots, hear some photography advice, and get a peek into his favorite herping trips.
Viridovipera (Trimeresurus) medoensis - Medo Pit Viper  A. Captain/ Adu Ile Me/ The Lisus

How did you first become interested in reptiles/amphibians (particularly snakes) and photography?

A. Captain: In the 90's, we used to go on a lot of jungle trips - initially in the Western Ghats - places close to Pune (where I live). Most trips were during the monsoons (our rainy season) and we'd see a lotta creepies. Initially I tried to 'study' everything - monsoon plants, spiders, solifuges, amblypygids, scorpions, frogs, caecilians, lizards and snakes. I photographed all of these and needed captions for my slides (now digital images)! I soon gave up trying to 'id' everything and drifted towards snakes 'cos it was possible to do a lot (but not all) of the identification without killing 'em/ collecting 'em/ dissecting bits and pieces. This wasn't possible with several of the other animals.

Was anyone influential in your decision to go into herpetology as a profession?

Umm, nope. Snake taxonomy isn't a profession for me. Pros get funded to do this kinda thing. I spend most of my own money doing this stuff! Three guys who were extremely helpful (when I was a newbie) were Anil and Neelimkumar Khaire (brothers who run both the snake parks in Pune) and Rom Whitaker (he needs no introduction)! (Drum roll as Rom takes a bow).

Where is your favorite herping spot in the world?

Pretty much anywhere in India (I have a distinct Indian bias) though I have spent most of my 'field time' in the northern Western Ghats and eastern Arunachal Pradesh. 

Do you have any favorite herps to find in the wild? Anything that still gets you excited to find?

No favorite spots as such. Finding any herp is exciting for me! 
Oreocryptophis porphyraceus (formerly Elaphe porphyracea) - Red Mountain Rat Snake A. Captain/ The Lisus

Do you have a life list? If so, what herp is at the top of your list to find in the wild?

No life list as such, but I would love to see Indian Trimeresurus (Peltopelor) macrolepis; the Sri Lankan Trimeresurus (Craspedocephalus) trigonocephalus and the African Bitis gabonica (all in the wild).

Is there any country/area that is at the top of your list to visit still?

Injun bias again! In India, there are still so many places left to visit - the deserts, southern Western Ghats, Eastern Ghats, the Andamans, Nicobar Islands . . .

Do you keep any herps as personal pets? If so, what species and any favorites?

Nope. 'Tis illegal in India. We have a 'Wildlife Prevention Act' that does just that! Did not know that!

I know when I’m behind the camera I get pretty focused, have you had any “close calls”?

Nope, again. Yup, I get pretty focused too, but I usually have several folks I trust helping [me] with the snake and photography. If it's a hot 'un, there are usually two guys (with their mobiles switched off) with snake sticks between me (camera, tripod and flashes) and the model. Most of my pics are posed. There may be another 2-3 guys holding the flashes and/ or umbrellas. Sometimes its not possible to get a pic. That's okay. 

Elachistodon westermanni - Indian Egg Eater
       A. Captain/ S. Deshmukh/ R. Nande
What’s more exciting, winning a cycling competition, discovering a new herp species, or getting that perfect photo published on a cover?

All three are equally exciting! : )

What has been your favorite/most memorable herping trip you’ve ever made?

Actually 4 of 'em! 1. I once spent 8 months in Arunachal. It was to be a year, but I had to meet my landlord in Pune! Anyways, I saw 26 Trimeresurus (Viridovipera) medoensis and several other beautiful snakes in the wild. One of the Medo Pit Vipers made the cover of a Christmas supplement of Geo (Germany)! Impressive! 2. On another trip to Arunachal, with the help of the villagers, we found a Protobothrops kaulbackii. 3. In Maharashtra (the state I live in), some young herp enthusiasts found a snake they couldn't identify - I took a bus there and the snake turned out to be Elachistodon westermanni (previously thought to be extinct)! This was like finding a live dinosaur. 4. A professor who studies fish, found a snake in Trivandrum (it was netted by some fishermen). I went there and it was a Homalopsinae - Enhydris dussumierii. The only place in the world its found in is Kerala state, India. So its not always in the deep dark jungles (as seen on telly)!

Of the new species you’ve described and helped to describe, has there been a favorite?

Ahaetulla c.f. nasuta - Green Vine Snake           A. Captain/ R. Whitaker/ A.R.R.S.
I've not described any new species yet! New records for India, several - Sinonatrix percarinata; Trimeresurus medoensis; Lytorhynchus paradoxus, Protobothrops kaulbackii, Amphiesma venningii. . . . No favorites! I apologize for my mistake, as I had read some false information that stated otherwise.

For those of us that know nothing of Indian herp culture, is it a developing hobby to keep snakes as pets there?

In a bad (according to me) way. Though illegal in India, there are several 'sarp mitras' (snake friends) who keep snakes in the name of 'educating' folks. Let's be honest - its a man against dangerous 'beast' adrenalin rush. My opinion is that this is extremely uncool. We've so few wild spaces left in India that preserving our wild populations is way more important than having 'em in (usually) smelly bags/ boxes/ jars. This is very different [compared] to the herp culture elsewhere in the world.

A lot of people have a negative outlook of snake charmers in India, do you have an opinion you could share?

Chrysopelea ornata - Ornate Flying Snake
           A. Captain/ R. Whitaker/ A.R.R.S.
               (Agumbe Rainforest Research Station)
For me its kinda complicated. Sure, I'd rather see snakes in the wild, sure, but these guys are making a living 'using' snakes and have been for generations. Unless they get an equally profitable/ more lucrative means of getting cash, I doubt they're gonna quit (even if a few snakes are 'seized' by the authorities). In fact I think taking away their snakes is bad for the wild population. They'll go get some more (and deplete the wild population still further). Besides this, we misguidedly release the rescued snakes. This is daft 'cos we've no idea where the snakes originally came from; they'll most probably die in new territories/ ranges and if they're infected with mites or something worse, they could wipe out an entire wild population. 

I also see an amusing double standard - guys in the US catching snakes/ herps for profit are no different (from the snake's point of view) to Injun snake charmers. (Whoops, they got me! There goes my 'wild' life). Yet these folks are called snake wranglers! I'm not dissing 'em, nor am I pro-snake charmer (I am not). 

You’ve worked with several other herpetologists – anyone you’d like to work with again?

Yup lots of 'em actually! Rom (Whitaker), Kedar (Bhide), Varad (Giri), Aaron (Bauer), Mark (Wilkinson), David (Gower), Andreas (Gumprecht), Frank (Tillack), Patrick (David), Gernot (Vogel), others whom I've written to and would like to work with are Frederick (Wagner), Wolfgang (Wuster), Anita (Malhotra), Anslem (de Silva) and Van (Wallach).
Do you have any photography tips for shooting herps?

Be patient (be prepared to spend all day/ several days if necessary). Corny, but I think herps sense 'impatience' and one never gets a good picture if one is in this 'zone'. Use the best equipment one can afford. [It is] better to have a macro lens (as opposed to a zoom with a macro feature) than a 'fill up the memory card' fancy camera - 6 MP is fine. The lens is IMPORTANT. I use smart flashes off camera and a light tripod with an 'action head'. *Pelican cases (in plastic bags that are carried in rucksacs) also keep the camera gear alive in rain forests. I put a sock full of fresh silica gel into the case every time I open it (if I'm on a long trip). This keeps the inside relatively dry. *This sounds ridiculously unwieldy but read on . . . I wrap the cases in plastic bags 'cos we once crossed a river and, though the cases were watertight, I couldn't open them until water in the gutters had dried (this took ages in a rain forest). If you open them when wet, drops from the gutter actually enter the case and water is sealed into the case. I carry the cases in a rucsac, 'cos its impossible for me to carry a suitcase-type piece of luggage in rough terrain.

How did it feel to have a snake named after you in 2007 (Captain’s Wood Snake - Xylophis captaini)

Embarrassing actually, 'cos we didn't find it first. My mum dampened the mild euphoria (that came later) by saying something like - "It's dirty and brown like your room." Actually there are two snakes named after me (more embarassment). The other is Dendrelaphis ashokii.  

Here in the US, I hear a lot about how great the tropics are to herp – do you think India gets proper recognition for it’s herpetological diversity?

The tropics are different. Great to herp, I don't know. If one is out in the right season and at the right time, there is lots of 'stuff'. Off season (at least in our neck of the woods) everything disappears. Proper recognition? I don't know.

A school of herpetology at the North Orissa University has (or will be) opening this year in India, how do you think further herpetological education will influence the conservation of India’s herpetofauna? **Edit - I received some misinformation, corrected by Ashok. As it turns out, this school had been opened previously and was run more as a short course.

About 5 years back Dr Sushil Kumar Dutta got the Department of Science & Technology to part with some cash and arranged this 'school' once every year in different Universities/ institutions - the first was in northern Orissa (and the last from this grant), the others were at the Wildlife Institute of India (Dehra Dun), Guwahaty (Assam), and at SACON (Salim Ali Center for Ornithology and Natural History) close to Coimbatore. The 'school' lasts about 10-12 days and is pretty intense. Most of the 30 or so folks that attend are really sharp, and some of them have already started doing really good work, so it's helping. However, these efforts are all drops in the ocean till we sort out our problem of rapidly vanishing wild spaces. This issue is kinda political and ecological, and I'm gonna stick to taxonomy and not get stuck in conservation arguments.

Any herp publications in the works? A possible follow-up to 2004’s Snake of India, The Field Guide?

A few short notes. Rom wants 'at least 25 species additions' before we consider a follow up. Guess who has to go get 'em? Kidding. But yup, we'd definitely like to do another version. I'd like to add an annotated key as well, but Janaki (the editor) is of the firm opinion that no one will be able to lift the field guide if we keep adding stuff, so negotiations on point number two are still on.
Macropisthodon plumbicolor - Green Keelback
                     A. Captain/ S. Thakur/ J. Kadapatti/ S. Mukherjee/ A. Patel

Anything else you’d like to share?

Nope! Think I've yakked quite enough. Happy, safe herping to you all. 


Ashok's and Rom's field guide can be purchased here: Snakes of India: The Field Guide

The interview with Rom Whitaker can be found here: Dr. Rom Whitaker & the Madras Crocodile Bank

Monday, April 16, 2012

Dangers of Herping, Hiking, & the Media

So I've been pretty lucky - I must say a lot of herpers have. We encounter so many different dangers while looking for the herps we love so dearly, but most of us have gotten away unscathed. How many have been within inches of being bit by a venomous snake - or actually have been bit?! How many have been within feet of man-eating crocs that most people would stay well clear of?! How many of us have gone diving into rocks and cacti to grab the tail-end of an escaping snake we're not even sure the identity of?!

The point is, while we enjoy what we do there are a lot of potential life threats in our fun hobby. When I tell most people that I go out hiking to look for rattlesnakes to photograph, or I'm traveling to the tropics to dig under logs for venomous snakes - not for the beer and beaches... okay maybe a little for the beer and beaches - I get a look like I'm deranged. I literally get asked, "Are You Crazy?!?" While I may actually be a little, I feel like what I do while herping, and what most do is within acceptable ranges of sanity. I'm not out driving in excess of 100+mph (not anymore anyways); I'm not out swimming in the ocean - how many more shark attacks and drownings are there than deadly snake bites a year; I'm not even free climbing - I even give those guys the "you are crazy" look. So why so many crazy stares for us?

It simply comes down to the fact that we don't necessarily get painted in a good light. Most main stream media doesn't show the discovery of a new herp species, but rather the drunken idiot that got bit on his face from playing with a Southern Pacific Rattlesnake. Not the researcher doing species counts, but the hiker that gets mauled by the bear from luring it closer for photos - it really does make for a better shot when that grizzly is only feet away and angry.

I guess my issue, is that herpers and hikers that look for herps along their travels, are still seen as an outside, secret society cult for whack-jobs. I'd love to one day turn on the tv and see a story about the hiker that trudged 60+ miles, 5-days, through rain and mud, and got the perfect shot of a Bushmaster in striking pose, surrounded by lush tropical jungle. But it seems as those we're always going to be limited to the unprepared people lost while hiking - learn to read a compass and trail map would ya!, the boozing red-necks that had to pick up the snake - really?! really?! I've had my share of nights half-in-the-bag before and never had the urge to play with "rattly" snakes, and the people eaten by crocs - come on, there is no place safer to swim?!

We've all had our close calls, but for all of you that go out there and actually plan a little - Kudos to you! Knowing map skills, how to handle snakes properly - or not handle them at all, and not being the drunk that loses an arm "wrastling" an alligator deserves some notice for once. Congrats on being someone future herpers and current herpers can look up to and respect!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Dr. William Lamar, Close Calls, & an Avian Life List

A look into how Dr. Lamar got his start in herpetology, what he's currently up to with research, and a very close call with one big, angry Bothrops atrox.
Red-eyed Tree Frog (Agalychnis callidryas), Costa Rica
© Chris Carille Photography
How did you first become interested in reptiles/amphibians?

Dr. Bill Lamar: I found a California Ribbon snake in my yard, it thrilled me and my mother was gently encouraging about it. Had she scolded me, likely I would be a Republican today. Also, from birth I was fascinated by dinosaurs.

Were your parents or friends influential in your decision to go into herpetology as a profession?

Only in the sense that no one ever discouraged me.

I’m in love with Central and South America myself, what draws you to those areas?

I was always drawn to tropical areas filled with mystery. As it happens, I landed a position with the Smithsonian Environmental Program that moved me to Colombia and I have concentrated on Latin America ever since.
Tambopata River, Peruvian Amazon
© Chris Carille Photography

Where is your favorite herping spot in the world?

Hmmm, I can't say I favor one over all others. I know of some places that have been extremely productive over the years, and they include spots in Costa Rica and Ecuador. In Ecuador I once collected 60 species of herps in one night.
Playa Ballena, Costa Rica

Do you have any favorite herps to find in the wild?

Not really. I have worked with all major groups and collected broadly. Certainly there are snakes that make me smile, such as boa constrictors, some ratsnakes, etc., and I am deeply interested in most kinds of New World venomous species of snake, so I like turning them up.

Do you have a life list? If so, what herp is at the top of your list to find in the wild?

I do not have a life list of herps, although I do of birds, interestingly enough. I suppose if I were to name a species it would be some nearly mythological species such as Corallus (Xenoboa) cropanii.

Is there any country/area that is at the top of your list to visit still? Why?

I would like to spend time in French Guiana because such large tracts of habitat are still intact. Unfortunately most parts of the world, no matter how remote, have become significantly compromised owing to human intrusion during my lifetime.

Do you keep any herps as personal pets? If so, what species and any favorites?

I do keep herps, although I do not consider them pets. Everything I keep is venomous and I do so to further familiarize myself with them.

Any crazy herping stories?

Oh, I could fill a couple of books with crazy stories. I did publish some viper encounters in an article in FAUNA Magazine. 
An excerpt from Dr. Lamar's article in FAUNA (2001) titled "Lucky Strike" - 
A couple of years ago, I hiked in a beautiful upland forest along the Rio Tahuayo, in Peru. It is filled with arching tress, and mosses and ferns so strange it seems like another planet. A clear, flat stream cuts the land like a flooded road. There is basically no rock in this part of the Amazon Basin, but the broad creek bed is aged clay that has the consistency of asphalt. At one point, it has collapsed creating a four-foot waterfall that crosses the stream like a jagged smile and forms a plunge pool below. On that day the water was chilly and running swiftly because it had rained all the previous evening. It was a classic "swimming hole," so I decided to jump in and cool off.
Eventually my companions began to arrive. They would be hot and sweaty and would waste no time in joining me for a dip. All were wading in the shallow stream in lieu of using the trail and one of them reached the pool ahead of the others. "There's a big snake swimming in the creek!" he shouted above the din of falling water. "What kind is it?" I yelled back. "I think it may be poisonous!" he replied. he kept glancing upstream behind him so I gathered that the snake was about to make its appearance. 
Standing with difficulty in the chest-deep, folling water, it was nearly impossible to ascertain anything about what was happening above. The laborious climb up from the pool was out-of-the-question. "Here it comes!" he said suddenly. I was bouncing up-and-down in an effort to see the streambed above, but the current kept knocking me back. "Just point your arm like a rifle at the snake to show me where it is swimming!" I instructed him. He did this, indicating - to my horror - a spot precisely in front of where I was standing.
I lunged sideways just as a large and thoroughly aroused B. atrox, floating high and striking at everything, came over the waterfall. Mouth half-open, she quickly turned her attention to me and I hit her point-blank in the face with a hard splash of water, pushing her back. In an instant, the current swept her past and she was thrown against the bank downstream where she (big ones are always females) made her way rapidly into the forest. Had I not been forewarned, the first thing that frightened snake would have contacted after plunging over the precipice would have been my head. Somehow, waterfalls will never be quite the same.

What has been your favorite/most memorable herping trip you’ve ever made?

A local guide in the Peruvian Amazon
© Chris Carille Photography
Honestly, there have been so many I cannot single any one out.  Each has been special for different reasons: location, results, sights, some special species, etc. But I would have to say that the locals who have worked with me are what have really made those trips successful or at least memorable.

Of the new species you’ve described and helped to describe, which has been the favorite?

Hmm, again, there is no favorite. I have concentrated on each one and thoroughly enjoyed dealing with them. Currently, I am at work on a watersnake from the Amazon so that is where my attention lies, but I can honestly say I have enjoyed all of them.

You’ve worked with a bunch of other herpetologists – anyone you’d like to work with again?

Well, some of my favorites are no longer with us: my mentor Federico Medem, my friends Arthur Loveridge, James A. Peters, Charles Bogert, among many others. Among extant herpetologists, I enjoy the company of Jonathan Campbell, Roy McDiarmid, Bob Reynolds, Norm Scott, Jay Savage, Bill Duellman, and young guys such as Dante Fenolio.
Being into photography and herps, what do you find more satisfying finding a species in the wild you haven’t seen before or having a photo published on the cover of a book or magazine?

They are very different things but finding something new is always exciting, although it usually will be a small, drab brown thing...nothing spectacular.

Any advice for people that want to get more involved in field herping, but don’t have the educational herpetology background?

Well, formal education is not really all that conducive to learning herpetology. I, like most herpetologists, am basically self-taught. Live with books, ask lots of questions, THINK about things, observe, observe, observe.

Who do I go to if I need a Costa Rican herp identified, you or [Costa Rican herpetologist] Alejandro Solorzano?

Craugastor bransfordii, Costa Rica - identified
 by Jay Savage through e-mail.

Either one of us could likely help, as could Mahmood Sasa, Quetzal Dwyer, Jay Savage, and others.

Diasporus diastema complex, Costa Rica - identified
 by Jay Savage through e-mail.
Do you think the increase of interest in the herp-keeping hobby has helped or hindered reptile & amphibian conservation?

I wish I could put a pretty face on conservation, and I certainly believe in it, but the sheer mass of humanity and the damage they do is so overwhelming I have to admit that I mostly feel it to be something of a fait accompli that all this stuff is going away. Certainly, during my 37 years spent in the Orinoco and Amazon Basins as well as Central America and Mexico, the steady disappearance of species has, if anything, accelerated.

Are you currently carrying out any herp research at UT Tyler you could let us all in on?

Right now all I am involved with are descriptions of a new lizard and a new snake. I am also working on an amphibian conservation program in Chile. It involves captive reproduction as well as field studies.

Anything else you’d like to share?

As I look back on my life I am deeply grateful for all the wonderful times spent in primitive situations far from human settlements.  I feel as though I have come as close to living my life as though I had been born 100 years prior, that I am satisfied with this. For me, the natural world is everything, so I cherish the opportunities I have had to enjoy it.
Spectacled Caiman (Caiman crocodilus) Rio Sierpe, Costa Rica
Sites dedicated to protecting endangered species, including Chilean amphibians: