Game guards and conservationists learn about snakes
TOSCO Trust has partnered with conservation group Snakes of Namibia to offer awareness conservation workshops for communities and especially for game guards. Conservation workshop grants support training with a strong hands-on learning component to help communities understand the snakes better.
The objective is to create awareness within the 86 conservancies in Namibia regarding snakes; to collect data from communities regarding snake/human/wildlife conflicts; and to set up a first aid protocol (action plan) for snakebites in communities.
Snakes of Namibia have developed a variety of snake handling and awareness courses over the last couple of years. Because snakes often come into conflict with humans it is important to equip the public with knowledge on identification, first aid and handling of dangerous snakes, especially in conservancies around Namibia, where data is not collected. “We planned the first workshop/training for game guards on Saturday 31 August 2019 for 6 conservancies: Tsiseb, Otjimboyo, Sorris Sorris, Khoadi-//Hôas Conservancy, Doro !Nawas Conservancy and Uibasen Twyfelfontein Conservancy, for a total of 12 game guards,” the organisers said.
The workshop was hosted in Elephant-Human Relations Aid (EHRA) base camp, where François Theart provided an overview of the basics regarding the biology of the snakes, identification and first aid and emergency numbers.
Reptiles, especially snakes, can cause a fear reaction in the public and sometimes they are called “the deadliest creatures on earth” that can “attack without warning.” While only 20 percent of the more than 3,000 species of snakes worldwide are venomous, these slithering reptiles often get a bad rap.
“Data plays a key role in our work in educating communities on the important ecological role that snakes have. Therefore, we are dealing with some challenges in the organisation of this workshop/training around the 86 conservancies in Namibia. We need you to contact us to check how you can support our team,” TOSCA said in a recent report online.
From December 2019 until February 2020, TOSCO in coordination with NNF and Snakes of Namibia will travel around Namibia visiting the conservancies and giving this awareness workshop and setting up a protocol to collect data.
What is Snakes of Namibia?
The group was established in December 2013 and consists of various volunteers that mitigate conflict between humans and snakes. In 2015, Snakes of Namibia formed a partnership with the Namibia University of Science and Technology to research the underlying issue of human-snake conflict in Namibia.
A paper titled ‘A spatial and temporal assessment of snakes in Windhoek ‘was published in December 2018. Currently the group’s goal is to look at the effects of relocation on snakes in Namibia. This project will start in February 2019 and aims to come up with sustainable and proven conservation methods.