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Aiding Armenian Vipers

Tuesday, January 18, 2011 @ 7:30 PM-9:00 PM

Featured Speaker: Jeff Ettling, Curator of Herpetology & Aquatics; Director, Center for Conservation of Near East Mountain Vipers; Director, Ron Goellner Center for Hellbender Conservation, Saint Louis Zoo

The Armenian viper, a medium-sized snake with a known range that includes Armenia, northwestern Iran, eastern Turkey, and northeastern Iraq, is in trouble in the wild. Agricultural activities have severely modified and fragmented their habitat; and the species is threatened by over-collection for the pet trade, human persecution and possibly warfare. In the mid- 1960’s population densities of Armenian vipers were estimated at 20 – 50 snakes per hectare. Current reports indicate population densities are 4 – 10 vipers per hectare and that populations are declining.

Several Russian herpetologists have studied the ecology of the Armenian viper in the mountains of Armenia, and briefly described reproductive behavior and timing of mating; but, data on habitat use, home range size, movement patterns, seasonal activity and population structure are lacking. Given the fragmented distribution of the Armenian viper and the ever-increasing human impact on its population numbers and habitat, a comprehensive conservation management plan is needed. The Saint Louis Zoo’s WildCare Institute Center for Conservation of Near East Mountain Vipers has been collaborating with colleagues from the Armenian Academy of Sciences since 2004 on a long-term investigation of the spatial ecology and population structure of the Armenian viper. Come hear about what the team has learned about the natural history of this threatened species.

Photo Credit: Saint Louis Zoo

All Conservation Conversations are held in the St. Louis Zoo Living World auditorium and parking is free in the Zoo North Lot.

For more information call 314-533-8586 – Note: no need to RSVP for this event.

Conservation Conversations are Co-sponsored by:


Tuesday, January 18, 2011
7:30 PM-9:00 PM
Event Category:
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