From 24 to 26 May 2019, chameleon enthusiasts from Germany, Belgium, and Switzerland met for the meeting of AG Chamäleons. Traditionally, the meeting started on Friday evening for those who arrived earlier with a casual dinner at the Schnuggel-Elsje, a restaurant directly at the marketplace of Boppard.
On Saturday, the conference started “officially” with significantly more visitors, with the opening by AG spokesperson David Hellendrung. Alexandra Laube reported in her lecture on experiences with the use of an egg monitor. With this device from the USA, the pulse of chameleons can be measured while still in the egg. Why this should be done and what benefit it has for the incubation of Calumma parsonii parsonii eggs was discussed in detail. Afterward, Annika Schmid presented in her first lecture at the AG, which media especially younger people currently use to inform themselves about chameleon keeping on the internet. In particular, there was a tendency towards easily accessible information in the form of videos, clips, and reels on various platforms such as YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat. Following this, there was an interesting discussion about which paths the AG could and should take in order to also address younger keepers and especially beginners.
After a hearty lunch, the cash report and the annual report of the management team followed. A greeting from the DGHT Presidium was delivered by Vice-President Matthias Jurczyk. David Hellendrung then took the conference visitors deep into Tanzania. Franziska von Ballmoos showed a completely different country. The Swiss has been to Malta several times and gave beautiful insights into the country, people, culture and of course the habitat of the European chameleon, Chamaeleo chamaeleon.
In the photo competition, in which many AG members took part, the dwarf chameleons won this year. First place went to Anne Stemper’s photo of a Bradypodion damaranum. Second place went to Gerd Fritzsche with his photo of an Archaius tigris. Third place went to [no name here] with a photo of a Bradypodion thamnobates. The Saturday ended with another Swiss contribution: Markus Grimm presented the legislation and requirements for keeping chameleons in Switzerland. In Switzerland, before a chameleon keeping permit is granted, participation in an expert course is required, as well as an inspection of the planned terrarium by an expert. Markus showed which topics are covered in the expert course and what special attention is paid to. The evening ended with dinner together.
On Sunday, Alexandra Laube showed with a lecture on earth chameleons in Madagascar that these animals are much more than “little brown critters”. At the end of the conference, David Hellendrung thanked all participants and the management team. The date for the next meeting has already been set!