“It’s time to review them. It’s not too late,” warns Veronica Villar. Considered “dangerous” and especially “trafficked around the world”, reptiles are not among the most loved animals. Some species are even threatened with extinction. A reality that Veronica Villar and her companion Joshua Bossert do not like.
So in 2014, the couple decided to take action by creating the Reptilian Protect association. “People don’t understand how lucky we are to have such animals on earth. We must help them and protect them. What the current legislation does not do,” emphasizes Veronica Villar, president of the association.
Protect, collect and raise awareness
The association operating in Cenon has three goals. First, shelter. Veronica and Joshua take in a lot of abandoned and sometimes unhealthy reptiles. “Once we went to pick up a boa constrictor that was attacked by a rat. The rat tore off his jaw. He had a tumor a year later because of this. the glass of your terrarium,” lamented the president of the association.
After spending several days, weeks or months with a couple, some reptiles will be placed in good families. While others, for veterinary or legal reasons, will not leave the premises. Currently, 46 reptiles, or 26 species, live in three rooms of the couple’s home.
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The association also intends to raise public awareness about the protection of biodiversity and its species. “We want to provide training to help people who want to be certified as non-pets. We are also available to help those who want help setting up their terrarium or who need advice.” The couple offers to open their terrarium. door for those who want to discover their universe. Together with herpetologists from Thailand, Brazil and Guyana, Veronica and Joshua are also involved in the conservation of endangered reptile species.
“Each year comes out from 30,000 to 40,000 € of funds”
However, this daily activity has its share of limitations. Maintaining the terrariums, packing food in three independent freezers, veterinary care… Every day, the couple spends eight to nine hours caring for their 46 animals. “Many people think that it is enough to clean the terrarium and feed it. But it’s not. The animal has certain needs depending on its species,” says Veronica Villar.
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In addition to the time spent caring for it, a significant amount of money has been invested. “Each year between 30,000 and 40,000 euros is spent on reptiles between buying food or veterinary expenses.” We are in solidarity, some breeders of the region do not hesitate to help them financially. Just like the national SPA, which paid them 4,000 euros in aid during the year. “We invite those who want to join us or help us with donations.”