Biologist honoured for work protecting reptiles
It’s definitely ‘cool’ to help the cold-blooded!
London-Based reptile biologist and medical scientist, Clifford Warwick, has been offered the post of Fellow of the renowned Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics (http://www.oxfordanimalethics.com/) in recognition of his long career and scientific contributions within the often-overlooked issue of reptile welfare and conservation.
“I have been extremely fortunate in being able to work full time in science for three decades on issues that are very important to me. Being invited to join the Centre in its aims is a true privilege, and one that I know the Centre will not mind me using to promote greater respect and protection for reptiles and their natural habitats – as well as those confined to captivity.”
Fellowship of the Centre is a rare and ‘once in a lifetime’ invitation to join an alumni of elite academics specially nominated and selected to further the Centre’s aims of ‘Pioneering ethical perspectives on animals through academic research, teaching, and publication’.
“All too often, reptiles are caught between a rock and a hard place. Many people either shun them and care little for their welfare, or keep them as curiosities in the home and in ‘private herpetological collections’ where these animals commonly languish in an unnatural, overly restrictive, and unsuitable environment. Between the ‘pet’ store and the home at least 81% of reptiles die prematurely in their first year. If 4 out of 5 dogs died within one year there would be outrage.”
A prolific researcher and writer on reptile protection issues and diseases that can be spread from wild animals to humans, Clifford is arguably also one of the world’s leading communicators within his fields. Whether publishing or speaking within the highest-level scientific communities or writing articles for newspapers and schools, or contributing to wildlife films and daytime TV, Clifford inevitably brings a new idea or angle to almost every topic he touches.
“I feel it is important to protect both humans and animals from unnecessary and avoidable harm. Sometimes, such as with exotic pet trading and keeping, each ‘party’ can suffer as a result of the same unnecessary and avoidable practice. I spend about half my time these days working in human medicine, trying to prevent disease acquired from keeping wildlife in captivity. But mostly I think of myself as a biologist, and in that context humans are merely a small part in a long history of life-forms, most of which we should learn from and not feel so superior to. Biology does that to you – it gives one a sense of perspective. For example, no matter what else do in my life, I shall probably be remembered for publishing a paper that involved strapping a woman’s sexual aid vibrator to a tortoise to relieve constipation. It works though, at least for tortoises!”