Background to the move from the three day event to the Easter Show format.

Wild Australia Expos has been producing the Wild Australia Expo and The Australian Frog & Reptile Show since 2004. These events, over three days, introduced to Australia a format for showcasing our reptiles & amphibians, on a scale not seen in this country before.

The events attracted upwards of 10,000 people to each, and whilst not being hugely successful from a financial point of view, the success for breeders, exhibitors and herpetologists was there.

However, something was lacking, and this was that these events did not attract many outsiders, with the majority of visitors already holding a keepers licence. An objective of Wild Australia Expos was not being met. This was to expose and introduce the hobby of herpetology to a broad spectrum of society, to create an awareness that reptiles can be kept as pets, and through the increase in numbers this would produce, pressure the regulators into treating pet reptiles the same as cats and dogs.

In 2011, through the coincidence of a late Easter and the unavailability of a suitable venue, we were invited to run the reptile competition inside the Easter Show. We accepted the opportunity at the expense of the three day event, a difficult decision to make, but made with the best interests of the broader herp community.

Now instead of exposing the hobby to 10,000 reptile keepers, we can expose it to 1,000,000 cat & dog lovers, 300,000 kids who would like to have a different type of pet for show & tell at school, 300,000 parents who put off owning a cat and a dog because they want to travel, or because they don't want the carpet soiled, etc, etc, etc. With this type of exposure, a new pet option is planted into the minds of visitors. When they view a beautifully landscaped terrarium replete with diamond python, or green tree frog, when they learn how easy it is to keep the animals, & kids see how 'cool' they are, a reptile as a pet becomes a viable alternative.

What does this mean for the hobby? If you are a breeder, or thinking of getting into breeding, it means more sales, more breeding stock, more morphs, more pure breeds. If you are retailer, it means more sales, more teaching courses, and the ability to capture a whole new audience. For the hobbyist and the hobby, with an increase in numbers of keepers, comes an increase in the pressure on the regulators to stop over regulating, retailers will stock a wider selection of goods, prices will come down, and the variety of animals will go up. We all benefit.

Whilst some may bemoan the demise of our traditional three day event, take a moment to think about what you are missing, what is it that you had with our events that you don't have now. The breeders are still around, the retail outlets are still there, and the social aspect lives on through the herp societies. If you you are not getting any satisfaction with these, let them know, because it is up to them to convert the surging interest in reptiles into a valuable resource.