ARC has had a long history working in Europe, and especially with the European Herpetological Society (Societas Europaea Herpetologica) and with the other organisations that take forward the conservation of amphibians and reptiles in different countries across the continent. Through this we have been able to influence policy, legislation and habitat management and to exchange ideas and knowledge that has helped conserve herpetofauna species within the UK and further afield. Undoubtedly we have seen some huge benefits through working together and, even though ‘Brexit’ may change the environment in which we work, we are keen to see this continue and to develop further in future.

To help this, ARC together with other European, non-Governmental amphibian and reptile conservation organisations (namely: Reptielen Amfibieën Vissen Onderzoek Nederland (RAVON, Netherlands) Naturschutzbund Deutschland (NABU, Germany), Société Herpétologique de France (France), Info fauna – Centre Suisse de cartographie de la faune & Koordinationsstelle für Amphibien- und Reptilienschutz in der Schweiz (CSCF & KARCH; Switzerland)) set up a new foundation called the “Stichting Reptile Amphibian Conservation Europe (RACE)”.  This was officially established on 17th July 2017 in Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

RACE will allow us to promote and take forward initiatives to conserve reptiles and amphibians through coordinating partner organisation work and volunteers, developing survey and research, raising awareness and advocacy. We will involving other national herpetofauna conservation organisations across Europe, to build up a network in a similar way to those associated with organisations like Butterfly Conservation Europe (BCE), BatLife Europe and BirdLife. RACE will provide a new organisation that can help us work effectively with other networks and conservation organisations and can also lead on projects on behalf of its members.

Although a new foundation, the current member organisations and other European herpetological organisations have known each other and worked together well for long time.  We are looking forward to more opportunities and even greater cooperation to help conserve our reptiles and amphibians.

From left to the right: Ronald Zollinger (RAVON), Silvia Zumbach (KARCH), Tony Gent (ARC-UK) (Secretary RACE), Rob van Westrienen (RAVON) (Chair RACE), Jean-Pierre Vacher (Societé Herpetologique de France), Tom Kirschey (NABU) (Treasurer RACE) Photo credit: R. Zollinger