Our January 2023 issue features a special section on reptile conservation, with articles focused on various species of lizards, turtles and snakes! Our accompanying Briefly section also includes recent news on reptile conservation. The lead article and cover feature by Lynn and Roberts highlights the importance of understanding the language used by reptile traders to help to track patterns in the online trade. In the Editorial, Chris Sandbrook, our Editor Martin Fisher, and editors of other leading conservation journals,  discuss the potential social impacts of ecosurveillance, guidelines for encouraging socially responsible use of digital technology for conservation research, and the important role of journals in implementing these guidelines and shaping the ethical conduct of research. The issue also includes a host of Conservation news articles and book reviews!

Find out more about this issue’s content, including our Editor’s picks, below:

Reptile conservation

  • Nomenclature in the online reptile trade – Lynn & Roberts
  • Dynamic occupancy modelling to determine the status of a Critically Endangered lizard – Turner et al.
  • An Indigenous perspective on the conservation of an insular endemic: the prehensile-tailed skink Corucia zebrata on the Solomon Islands – Pikacha et al. (see blog post here)
  • Conservation and cultural intersections within Hong Kong’s snake soup industry – Landry Yuan et al.
  • Validating trends in olive ridley sea turtle nesting track counts in Guatemala in light of a national hatchery protection strategy – Morales-Mérida et al.

Prehensile-tailed skink, New Georgia. Photo: Douglas Pikacha, Jr. See Patrick Pikacha’s blog post here.

Behind the cover

The internet has expanded opportunities for wildlife traders to conduct business globally. As monitoring frequently employs language-based searches, it is important to understand the language traders use, particularly the nomenclature used to refer to traded species. Analysis of the language types used by advertisers of reptiles on four UK websites indicates that English common names are the most frequently used name type, but scientific names are used in twice as many adverts for threatened and Near Threatened species as in adverts for non-threatened species. One of the most commonly advertised lizards is the Vulnerable crested gecko Correlophus ciliatus of New Caledonia (pictured), often referred to as ‛crestie’ in the trade, which appeared in 6% of adverts. The ultimate aim of language detection tools is to track trends in online trade, provide a better understanding of trade patterns and help authorities enforce laws against illegal reptile trade. For further details, see Lynn and Roberts. (Photograph © Adrian Davies/Naturepl.com)


The role of journals in supporting the socially responsible use of conservation technology – Sandbrook, Fisher, Cumming, Evans, Glikman, Godley et al.

‘… until now conservation and ecology journals have not tended to include specific guidance on the use of digital technologies and the potential social impacts of ecosurveillance. Given the importance of this issue and the influence of journals on the research community, this creates an opportunity for journals to play a leading role in driving change. To address this issue, the Editor of Oryx, working with the authors of Sandbrook et al. (2021), developed a new guideline for the journal’s instructions to authors. […] This guideline, or a version of it, has now been adopted by 10 leading conservation and ecology journals.’

Editor’s picks

  1. An Indigenous perspective on the conservation of an insular endemic: the prehensile-tailed skink Corucia zebrata on the Solomon Islands – Pikacha et al. (see blog post here)
  2. Species detection framework using automated recording units: a case study of the Critically Endangered Jerdon’s courser – Arvind et al. (see blog post here)
  3. Controversies and hidden risks in biodiversity offsets in critically threatened Canga (ironstone) evosystems in Brazil – Carmo & Kamino
  4. Unmanned aerial vehicle surveys reveal unexpectedly high density of a threatened deer in a plantation forestry landscape – Pereira et al.

Preparing Automated Recording Units for deployment in Sri Lankamalleshwara Wildlife Sanctuary. Photo: P. Jeganathan. See Chiti Arvind’s blog post here.

Other content

  • Present but not detected: new records increase the jaguar’s area of occupancy in the coastal Atlantic Forest – Fusco-Costa et al.
  • New records of the Endangered southern river otter Lontra provocax, with notes on its diet, in threatened wetlands of southern Chile – Fuentes & Arriagada
  • Analysis of a long-term dataset of Antillean manatee strandings in Belize: implications for conservation – Galves et al. (see blog post here)
  • Distribution and conservation status of the golden monkey Cercopithecus mitis kandti in Rwanda – Tuyisingize et al.
  • Diversity and diel activity patterns of terrestrial mammals in the Nkuba Conservation Area, Democratic Republic of the Congo – van der Hoek et al. (see blog post here)
  • Conservation value of vanilla agroecosystems for vertebrate diversity in north-east Madagascar – Hending et al.
  • Can cultural values associated with turacos be used to enhance biodiversity conservation in Cameroon? – Nkengbeza et al.

Baby manatee rescued after a hurricane in Belize. Photos: CMARI-Belize. Read Jamal Galves’ blog post here.

Conservation news

Book reviews

  • Crooked Cats: Beastly Encounters in the Anthropocene & Elephant Trails: A history of Animals and Cultures – Kent Redford
  • Pathways to Success: Taking Conservation to Scale in Complex Systems – P.J. Stephenson
  • Birds, Beasts and Bedlam: Turning My Farm into an Ark for Lost Species – Emily Legge
  • Wildlife Management and Landscapes: Principles and Applications – James Okiria-Ateker

Header photo: The Vulnerable crested gecko Correlophus ciliatus of New Caledonia. Photograph © Adrian Davies/Naturepl.com

Emma joined the Oryx team in 2022 after completing an MSc in wildlife conservation. She is particularly interested in African wildlife and the wildlife trade, and carried out her MSc research on the impact of wild meat hunting on duiker populations in Central Africa. Prior to her MSc, Emma worked in finance before volunteering at conservation organizations and training as a field guide in South Africa.