Melissa Kaplan's
Herp Care Collection
Last updated January 1, 2014

More Than Half A Million U.S. Students Learn: What's A Herp?

International Fund for Animal Welfare, April 4, 2002


CAPE COD, MASSACHUSETTS — “What’s a herp?” you may ask. This week, 785,000 middle school students in more than 13,000 classrooms across the U.S. will find out as part of an International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) project to teach children about issues related to keeping amphibians and reptiles – ‘herps’ – as exotic pets.

This IFAW project, funded with a generous grant from the Kenneth A. Scott Charitable Trust, was produced in cooperation with Lifetime Learning Systems, the nation’s leader in sponsored educational materials, and a division of Weekly Reader, the leader in classroom periodicals.

The project includes an thirteen-page teaching brochure and specially designed website – The kid-friendly brochure, entitled Amphibians and Reptiles as Exotic Pets is being distributed this week to subscribers of Weekly Reader’s Current Science publication.

“We are proud to be a partner with IFAW and believe that this valuable brochure will help promote an understanding of animal welfare with students in the classroom,” said Katy Dobbs, Editorial Director at Lifetime Learning Systems. “Current Science readers will now have the opportunity to be well-informed, and hopefully think twice before considering a herp for a pet.”

The illegal trade in amphibians and reptiles is closely linked to the drug trade, taking the same routes and generating high profits. In 2000 alone, more than 5.5 million herps were brought into the U.S., where trade in these animals has increased dramatically in recent years.

The mortality rate is enormous for illegally trafficked herps. Experts estimate that three times the number of animals die in the process of capture, storage, and transportation as those that actually arrive at exotic pet markets. IFAW hopes that this project will help inform teachers, parents and students about these issues, and in turn, reduce the demand for these exotic pets.

“Children are naturally drawn to the marvelous animals that inhabit our earth,” said Cindy Milburn, IFAW Director of Animals in Crisis & Distress. “This well-designed project will teach them about the unique qualities and needs of exotic ‘herps’ so that they and their parents can make responsible choices in choosing pets.”

Join students nationwide and learn about ‘herps,’ visit

For more information, contact:
Jennifer Ferguson-Mitchell
Communications Manager
International Fund for Animal Welfare

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