What Are We Conserving? A Lizard’s Tale

Hill, Debra U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 2105 Osuna NE Albuquerque, NM 87113 Debra_Hill@fws.gov We all have an understanding of the basic concept of “Conservation”, and many have taken or taught a conservation biology class. In theory, we are trying to conserve a species, a habitat, an ecosystem, a landscape, and ultimately, a planet. In practice, the details are much murkier, and our goals never exact. When the species of interest is not charismatic, and even worse, a misunderstood lizard, conservation can become a challenge. Grassroots conservation efforts involve a multitude of partners that must be brought to the table with clear direction and goals. The identification of stakeholders and their participation must then be intricately woven with the ecological and natural history needs of the lizard. I will explore the tangled web of conservation, the tools available, and lessons learned from two southwestern lizards, the Dunes Sagebrush Lizard (Sceloporus arenicolus) and the Flat-tailed Horned Lizard (Phrynosoma mcallii).