Happy New Year from Everyone at Exotics Keeper Magazine!

Year one and beyond, with Exotics Keeper Magazine

Although we’re not quite out of the pandemic yet, 2021 has been an unforgettable year for Exotics Keeper Magazine and feel that now is a great time to share some of our plans and ambitions for 2022.

The EK Fund

Exotics Keeper Magazine was founded with several goals in mind including raising awareness of important conservation projects, improving welfare standards in the hobby, and providing financial support to initiatives that needed it most. In 2020, when lockdown placed immense pressure on zoos, the EK Fund was launched. As well as donating thousands of pounds towards essential supplies for zoos, we run a marketing campaign to gather support for the crisis and worked closely with Peregrine Livefoods, who donated £250,000 worth of feeder insects to zoos across the country.

Since lockdown was lifted, we turned our attention towards growth. The project was initially only going to be stocked in reptile shops. As we dreamed bigger, we invested in creating a website, building a subscription service and working with the very best companies in the reptile sector to secure the future of Exotics Keeper Magazine.

Throughout the year we have covered everything from conservation projects to husbandry advice and responsible keeping. We’ve covered legislation changes and the illegal wildlife trade, and we never shy away from an issue we feel is prevalent in our beloved hobby.

Now, we are again able to support those projects financially. From February 2022, each month we will be making a financial donation to an initiative that we cover in the magazine (this will be replacing the ‘on the web’ section). Factoring this into each month’s budget means that as the magazine grows, so will the support. Every single magazine sale enables us to do this.

Magazine improvements

Throughout the year we have added more pages, reduced the font size, improved page and cover quality, limited the number of adverts, added more recurring features, diversified the taxa we cover and so much more. This is just the beginning for EK magazine. Whilst we’re extremely proud of where we are today, as we begin to see more people re-subscribe throughout 2022 we can start to dream bigger. Although this will happen gradually, we would love to see more pages, designated graphics, freelance features and interactive elements added to the mix. At the time of writing we are currently converting hundreds of thousands of original photographs from professional photographer Steven Von Peltz, to be used in future issues. These exclusive images, previously destined for the Natural History Museum, will be originals, collated over a 40+ year career, that no one has ever seen before.

We have now managed to streamline our printing and delivery process to ensure that the magazine reaches customers within the first week of each month. Previously, we needed to experiment with different dates to ensure all subscribers would receive their desired first issue, plus every other issue going forward. Now, customers should expect to see advertising for the new issue from the 1st of each month when the magazine is available in our warehouse and is dispatched soon after. Subscribers always have first access to the magazine, but naturally weekends, or local postal delays can still cause some disruption.

The Subjects

There have been countless projects that we have covered this year which have absolutely blown us away. Thanking every individual that has helped us along the way would be impossible! From huge organisations that have painted us a picture of global conservation to individuals with expert insight into one species from remote Australian wilderness or Central American rainforest. We’ve covered hobbyist breeders who are producing UK-first captive bred animals to product development specialists leading the charge with industry breakthroughs!

Back when the weather was warmer, we looked at the outdoor keeping side of things. Rob Pilley, the award-winning nature documentary producer invited us into his home where he talked about outdoor keeping for dozens of species. Harvey Tweats and Tom Whitehurst at Celtic Reptile and Amphibian gave us an exclusive tour of their outdoor facility and rewilding ambitions too. These experiences helped us bring expert insight and a glimpse into the future of herpetoculture to our readers and we’re extremely grateful.

Of course, some of our interviewees were dotted across the world. We jumped on a call Dr Jonathon Howard (BeardieVet) who was living in Europe at the time, to give us possibly the most highly regarded feature of the year – a provocative insight into the world of wild bearded dragons and how we should be keeping them in captivity. Rick Hudson, President of the Turtle Survival Alliance spoke to us from Madagascar regarding radiated tortoises (congratulations on receiving the 2021 Commitment to Conservation Award this year too, Rick!) Luke Harding also provided some cutting-edge information from Grand Cayman on the progress of the Blue Iguana Conservation initiative, which is working extremely hard and continually smashing milestones in saving one of the world’s most endangered reptiles.

Zoos have been incredible this year too. Chester Zoo invited us to film their Komodo Dragons and report on their Tuatara breeding success. Ben Tapley of ZSL London Zoo gave us professional insight into the globalisation of the Chytrid fungus. Even zookeepers Lauren Hunter and Dan Rumsey all the way over in Australia shared their experiences with thorny devils. This was particularly special as Lauren is one of only a handful of people on the planet to have ever worked with this species in captivity.

Needless to say, this is no where near the full amount of people that have spoken to us, allowed us to interview and film their facilities, given us professional insights and opinions and in many cases peer-reviewed our cutting-edge husbandry advice. For this, we thank everyone and can’t wait to see you all in person through 2022.

The future of Exotics Keeper Magazine

Year 2 brings more focus toward our long-term goals and ambitions. Firstly – improving the welfare of captive exotic animals across the world. This is broad and we hope every feature has either directly or indirectly influenced this already, but the ‘Keeper Basics’ section should combat this. Whilst care guides certainly have their place (and will be launched under the EK banner next year), learning the disciplines of heating, lighting, supplementation, humidity control, enrichment procedures and much more is key to starting the hobby strong.

Secondly, enforcing responsible ownership. Although we hope not to upset any readers, we want everyone to do better by their animals and recognise that there is always room for improvement. Some species do not suit some keepers and we will continue to be vocal about that. Animals should be sourced ethically, provided with more than the ‘minimum’ requirements and with longevity in mind.

Thirdly, promoting good captive welfare. Many species can be kept incredibly well in captivity and in some cases provide miraculous scientific breakthroughs, great inspiration for budding scientists and present an eco-friendlier alternative to domestic pets. We should celebrate excellent husbandry from both zookeepers and private keepers with equal pride.

We also want to establish a network whereby keepers can exchange their cutting-edge knowledge and discoveries. We already know there are lots of brilliant groups out there that are vastly improving the hobby, but if anyone has read Tom’s intros over the last year, what we really want is for people to share their success stories and proud achievements. Custom enclosures, breakthrough-breeding projects, innovative ways of using products, etc – they’re all extremely useful to us and something we would love to cover in the magazine.


From all at Exotics Keeper Magazine,

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year from Everyone at Exotics Keeper Magazine!

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