About Benjamin Tapley
My interests in animals, predominantly amphibians and reptiles began when I was a small child. Thankfully, my interest was nurtured by my long-suffering parents who put up with finding snakes wrapped around curtain poles, slow worms in pockets and crickets living behind the kitchen oven. My passion for reptiles and amphibians increased as I got older and my interest has taken me around the world where I have been fortunate enough to work with and observe in the wild many incredible species.
I was lucky enough to develop this passion into a career; I trained as a Conservation Biologist at the Durrell Institute for Conservation and Ecology (University of Kent) before securing a position in the Herpetology Department at Jersey Zoo. I currently work as the Curator of Reptiles and Amphibians at the Zoological Society of London. My areas of interest lie in the ex situ management of amphibians and reptiles for conservation purposes and increasing the conservation outputs of zoos, conservation prioritisation, conservation capacity building and caecilian amphibians. I am currently working on Chinese giant salamanders, mountain chicken frogs from the Caribbean and the conservation of several megophryid frogs and turtles in Vietnam.
Much of my work focuses on EDGE species (Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered). By conserving these species. EDGE species have few close relatives on the tree of life and are often extremely unusual in the way they look, live and behave, as well as in their genetic make-up. They represent a unique and irreplaceable part of the world’s natural heritage, yet an alarming proportion are on the verge of extinction.
I am a co-chair for the IUCN captive breeding working group (Amphibian specialist Group) and EAZA Amphibian Taxon Advisory Group. I am also an editor for the Herpetological Journal, Amphibian and Reptile Conservation and Herpetology Notes.