Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, September 23, 2017

Contact:  Patrick Donnelly, (702) 483-0449,

Nevada Bans Destructive Commercial Reptile Collection

LAS VEGAS— The Nevada Board of Wildlife Commissioners today voted to permanently ban the commercial collection of reptiles. The ban is in response to advocacy by the Center for Biological Diversity, dozens of scientists and hundreds of supporters.

Until today Nevada has allowed the unrestricted take of reptiles for private profit, causing declines in populations of lizards and snakes such as the chuckwalla and desert-horned lizard. The new regulations instruct the Department of Wildlife to cease permitting commercial collection, and establish regulations for a permanent ban.

“This is a huge victory for wildlife and the people of Nevada,” said Patrick Donnelly, Nevada state director with the Center. “Our remarkable snakes and lizards have been exploited for commercial profit for too long. This bold and forward-thinking action by the commission will ensure our precious reptiles are protected from such destructive exploitation.”

Commercial collectors have removed almost half a million reptiles from Nevada’s public lands over the past 30 years. This has resulted in localized population declines, prompting the Nevada Department of Wildlife to seek new regulations from the commission.

Almost 50 scientists — including professors from the University of Nevada-Reno, Nevada State College and Harvard University — submitted a letter this week to the commission expressing support for a complete ban. Citing climate change, disease and other global threats to reptiles, the scientists encouraged the full ban to protect Nevada’s “unique reptile community.”

“Scientists and reptile enthusiasts around the world are breathing a sigh of relief today,” said Donnelly. “The Wildlife Commission stepped up and did the right thing. Nevada harbors some of the most remarkable reptilian diversity in the world, and this move helps ensure that our lizards and snakes will be here for future generations.”

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.5 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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