ESF  State of affairs 2015

 Conform article 4 of the Statutes, the secretary periodically provides a report on the state of affairs of the ESF.


The five aims as published on the ESF homepage are still valid; moreover, the following two aims are getting more and more important.

1. Conservation of reptiles and amphibians in captivity, with emphasis on endangered  species.

2. Management of genetically healthy breeding programs.

Building up and then maintain a captive population in Europe is the first step in order to achieve the aims. Thereby is cooperation between all ESF participants necessary.
Participants of the ESF are all volunteers. The active contribution of people is differing in time and intensity. People have it in their own hands to make something of their participation.
From people who want to be a studbook keeper, we will ask certain things, which will require time and effort, namely:
-         Registration of studbook animals in the new online system; of course computer knowledge is necessary,
-         Annual report on the state of affairs of the studbook, which means that regular consultation with studbook participants will be necessary,
-         Developing and executing breeding programs in close cooperation with all relevant studbook participants and the Genetics Committee,
-         Gaining and sharing knowledge on keeping and breeding studbook animals,
-         Advice on the placement of ESF-animals with studbook participants mostly for breeding attempts,
-         If possible, participation in the annual studbook keepers day, which is signified by transfer of knowledge, brainstorming on specific questions and very nice informal people-to-people contacts.

New studbook keepers will of course be given time to build their studbook and will receive as much support as they need from the board. The new online registration system will help making registering much easier as the former Sebag and Sparks systems.
After some time, the board will evaluate the viability of the studbook with the studbook keeper. We are conferring with the studbook keepers which ESF category classification will be given to his studbook.

Many reptiles and amphibians are captive bred which is very important to preserve the species, especially for the A-category. Some species have a waiting list of interested holders.
For other species, there is a surplus of captive bred animals at the moment, so breeding is temporized for these species. This requires a certain amount of alertness in the future on the development of the species concerned, to prevent the stagnation of a built up population.
At the moment, the surplus of captive bred animals as just mentioned, occurs in certain turtle species. Especially the less spectacular species -especially from Asia- demand more interest and breeding results. This is important because many Asian species are at a critical point. The reasons for that are well-known.

It is remarkable that the most favourite species which are bred in a EU-country, differ per country. More international contacts would be conducive to a better distribution of species in all EU-countries and provide a better guarantee for the preservation in captivity. Besides, unjustified commercial trade can be pushed back. Furthermore, it is recommended to increase the knowledge and experience in keeping species, especially threatened species (A-category).


Present ESF Status

At present 50 studbooks are managed, divided in 31 category A, 16 category B and 3 category C. The main part still consists of freshwater turtle and tortoise studbooks. Amphibian studbooks require a slightly different approach than reptile studbooks, because individual identification is often more difficult, among other things. The Genetics committee is willing to help in these matters.


The Board is committed to rejuvenation. Therefore per January 1, 2016 transferred the presidency to Laurens Woldring, with many thanks to Henk Zwartepoorte for his dedication and inspiration since the founding of the ESF.
And therefore are we looking for new members for secretary, treasurer, coordinator studbook keepers and PR officers. If you are interested please contact the current board members.

Country coordinators

The ESF has coordinators in The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, France, United Kingdom, Greece and Spain. More ESF coordinators in EU countries are welcome.
The coordinators act as an extension of the ESF-board and the Coordinator studbook keepers with the governments, organisations, societies, sponsors and studbook keepers in the relevant EU-countries.

Vacancy studbook keepers

The ESF is looking for the following studbook keepers:
- Malacochersus tornieri (studbook category A)
- Cuora galbinifrons (studbook category A)
- Cuora picturata (studbook category A)
- Cuora (Pyxidea)mouhotti (studbook category A/B)
- Sacalia bealei (studbook category A)
- Sacalia quadriocellata (studbook category A)

Co-studbook keepers

To establish a well-kept studbook is not always very easy. Therefore we recommends the studbook keepers to cooperate with one or more co-studbook keepers.

Because a lot of activities and efforts are asked from the studbook keeper on a voluntary basis the board recommends him to alleviate this task by working with one or more co-studbook keeper(s). Studbook keeper and co-studbook keeper decide together how specific tasks are divided. This construction ensures the continuation of the studbook management. It is pleasing to see that more co-studbook keepers are emerging.

New studbooks

In 2015 six studbooks revive :
- Clemmys guttata (cat.C)                   - Stbk.k.:   Nick Cramer
- Cuora bourreti (cat.A)                      - Stbk.k.:   Paul Coleman
- Platysternon megacephalum (cat.A)   - Stbk.k.:   Kevin Naeff
- Terrapene carolina bauri (cat.A)        - Stbk.k.:   Paul Coleman
- Terrapene carolina carolina (cat.A)    - Stbk.k.:   Paul Coleman
- Tylototriton shanjing (cat.C)             - Stbk.k.:   Jari Boerboom

Of course we welcome the restart of these studbooks and obviously we wish the studbook keepers a lot of success.

Changes in ESF-category classification

No changes within these categories occurred during 2015.  But regarding the expected in situ deteriorating situation, it is expected that in the future some changes may take place.

Placing  ESF animals

The ESF is not a rescue organisation for any animal, but we will help the governments and investigation services inside and outside Europe housing seized reptiles and amphibians.
Mostly are housed turtle and tortoise species, but recently came for placing with participants  available: a snake species and a lizard species.
The ESF places the animals on condition that only animals wanted by studbook keeper and studbook participant are accepted. The aim to keep a genetically healthy population in captivity plays of course an important role in this, so new bloodlines will become available.
In every placement procedure, the board will have extensive consultations with the appropriate studbook keeper. Placement will take place with our standard contract and because the ESF has a very limited budget, we have to ask a contribution per animal to the  import/transfer costs of the participant who receives ESF animals.
Over the years, a great number of turtle species are placed with studbook participants.
The board appreciates the willingness and dedication of every studbook participant who cooperated in the placements.

Breeding  plans

To get and maintain genetically healthy populations in captivity, we need, apart from well kept studbooks, well thought-out breeding plans. This is especially important for A-category studbooks. With some studbooks we are momentarily experimenting in planning a genetically sound breeding plan. This is especially important when F2 captive bred animals and further generations will be registered. Therefore the board asked (co-)studbook keepers from A-category studbooks to formulate breeding plans in cooperation with their studbook participants and the Genetics committee.

ESF-website, leaflets

The main source of information for the ESF will be the website. ESF-participant is gladly invited to publish articles, etc. on our website. For every studbook there is also room for reports, breeding reports and information. The official language is English.

Because all ESF leaflets have now been issued, it’s needed again to be printed new brochures with current information.

Financial situation

December 31, 2015 on the current account of ESF there was a positive amount of € 58 and on the savings account balance an amount of € 17.561 The negative equity of the ESF in 2015 was € 1.025. Interest income counted € 93.
The amount of target reserves was  € 9.759 in total. This total was divided into the following components:
- € 4.414 for Testudo kleinmanni conservation project in Egypt.
- € 157 for Fabina Martis onderzoeksproject.
- € 5.188. especially for PR and automation, the annual Studbook keepers day, ESF website, DNA sampling of Geoclemys hamiltoni from Hong Kong to use for the breeding program, DNA sampling of Testudo graeca to reproduce all haplotypes/subspecies.
The ESF is still an international volunteer organization with many aspirations and activities, but without regular income. Therefore, donations, etc. are very welcome.

February 2016,
On behalf of the ESF board,
Harry Rotmans, secretary.


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Last Updated on Tuesday, March 15 2016