With luck and dedication any collector of anything comes to a point that the collection reaches its zenith. For some, this comes after years of hard work, hunting, making contacts etc. For others this moment comes after careful consideration, reworking and often down sizing to bring the collection to a size that is rewarding, enjoyable, and where the workload involved in the curation of the collection does not negate the enjoyment involved in maintaining the collection. A ”collection” of live animals or plants is different from collecting comic books, fossils or other inanimate objects as invariably there is more work involved in the curation of the collection.
I came to a point a few years ago now, where I understood the meaning of, enough is enough, and thus began a slow and deliberate active downsizing the number and the breadth of the frogs that we maintain. We have sold or rehomed nearly all our treefrogs and miscellaneous frogs and toads we had acquired over the years. We even relinquished all our pumilio and sylvatica, and now for the first time since I began with this hobby, work with no Oophaga species. Finally, after years of building our frog collection and the business that went with it, followed by a few years of downsizing, I can say I am have pretty much reached my point of frog collecting nirvana. I can, for the first time in 20 years of keeping frogs, say that there really is very few more species I want. I am happy that finally our collection of tinctorius, auratus, and phyllobates are getting the attention they deserve. We have grown them into healthy and viable breeding groups that will be productive and a pleasure to maintain and keep established for years to come. After many years of racing to acquire more species and morphs, (especially of Peruvian species) we are now striving to do more with the wonderful species that we already had. At this point I really consider that any new species or morph will become more work which ultimately leaves less time available for working with the species we already have, so to add a new species to our collection comes after significant consideration.
We recently acquired a small group of red A. galactonatus from Donna Garness of Slice of Life Vivaria. When I saw her adverstise them, after considering it for a few days, I decided to order a small group of four. Many years ago, I imported a small group for another customer. At the time I regretted that I did not keep them for myself as they were really beautiful frog, with a really rich red/marron/crimson colour that is unique amongst the myriad of other shades of red that adorn many other frogs. It has always been a frog I thought I would like to have again. The frogs arrived in perfect shape, and I am happy to have them. It was nice to be able to get such nice frogs from a great Canadian source. Thanks again Donna for the beautiful frogs, I am appreciative of the opportunity enjoy them, and must say the quality is simply wonderful.
If anyone happens to wonder what is on my wish list, which is very short, and I am in no hurry on any, it is as follows.
1. Ancon hill, or six point auratus. I have never had this morph, but I have always wanted a group with nice small spots conservatively spread upon the inky black dorsum and limbs. What a handsome frog.
2. Yellowhead tinctorius. Some of the first frogs I ever owned were yellowheads, unfortunately they were two males, which I traded back in the nineties to Ron Jung for a group of azuriventris. While I do not regret the trade, I always thought they were some of the nicest tinctorius I ever had.
That is about it. While I will probably add a few more frogs to our collection to satisfy the demands of our overseas wholesale clientele, I am happy with the collection we have built, even happier that I have the time to manage it properly, and often have time at the end of the day to enjoy with my family. Sometimes I even have enough to take a day off to pursue my favourite hobby of breaking open rocks in search of trilobites :)