Save The Snake Support Grant recipient Ricardo Rodríguez Medina has done some excellent work in the Sonoran Desert of Mexico and we share some of his successes below.
Ricardo’s project aimed to provide information about the biological importance and the role of snakes in the Sonoran Desert ecosystem. This included a theoretical/practical course addressed specifically to the Comcáac indigenous community in which the attendants learnt about:
• the importance of snakes, their role in the ecosystem,
• the species distributed in the area,
• the human-wildlife conflict and how to minimize it,
• safe handling techniques for relocating them and
• first aid attention in case of snakebites.
The main objective of this project was to improve the capacity in the knowledge and conservation of venomous and nonvenomous snakes from the Sonoran Desert region, taking into consideration the safety regulations and first-aid attention in a snakebite scenario for the Comcáac community. Ricardo and his team were able to successfully do this with the goal of:
• Establishing two local brigades for snake relocation.
• Providing a training workshop for the brigade participants in species biology, identification, relocation and safe-handling techniques.
• Providing the brigades with the necessary equipment to develop their activities.
The Comcáac community have displayed a genuine interest in conservation as they take part in monitoring activities and eradication of invasive species in Tiburon island. Ricardo and his team wanted to reinforce the capacities and knowledge of every member of the brigades, encouraging them to continue their duties with the appropriate knowledge and equipment. This project was routed to minimize the human-snake conflict and avoid the harassment toward the snakes.
A two-day training courses was held at Kino Bay (February 24- 25, 2020) and Punta Chueca (February 27-28, 2020) focusing on safe-handling techniques for Sonoran Desert snakes. For each course, over 20 people attended instead of the expected 15 and a total of 52 people attended all courses. At every course, the team started practicing with a stuffed snake, so that the attendees could learn how to handle the equipment. They would then practice with a non-venomous snake to learn for to react, stay calm and restrain the animal. Finally, when they had practiced enough and were confident, they practiced with venomous animals. Instructors were available at all times and focused on human and snake safety.
Ricardo and his team also designed pocket guide of species in the area for the basic identification of the snakes from the region. They only included 15 species of reptiles, including venomous and non-venomous that could be mistaken. The pocket guide also includes a brief introduction, a key to understanding the icons, photos, and characteristics for every species, a section on do’s and don’ts.
Species included in the pocket guide:
1. Crotalus atrox
2. Crotalus scutulatus
3. Crotalus tigris
4. Crotalus cerastes
5. Crotalus molossus
6. Micruroides euryxanthus
7. Hydrophis platurus
8. Pituophis catenifer
9. Trimorphodon lambda
10. Sonora palarostris
11. Sonora cincta
12. Lampropeltis nigrita
13. Rhinocheilus lecontei
14. Heloderma suspectum
15. Heloderma horridum exasperatum
The project delivered better results than the team expected.
|A. 2 theoretical/practical training courses of 14 hours each one in the communities of Kino Bay and Punta Chueca, in the state of Sonora.||a. 2 theoretical/practical training courses of 14 hours each one in the communities of Kino Bay and Punta Chueca, in the state of Sonora.|
|B. 30 individuals trained in safehandling techniques for restrain and relocate of snakes in the communities of Kino Bay and Punta Chueca.||b. 52 individuals trained in safehandling techniques for restrain and relocate of snakes in the communities of Kino Bay and Punta Chueca.|
|C. 4 herpetological hooks and 4 snake baggers (2 bags each one) for the brigades.||c. 5 herpetological hooks, 4 snake baggers (2 bags each one), 2 snakes restrain containers, 1 herpetological tong and 1 first-aid snake bite kit for the brigades.|
|D. 30 pocket guides about native snakes from the Sonoran Desert in Comcáac language.||d. 60 pocket guides about native snakes from the Sonoran Desert (30 in Spanish and 30 in Cmiique Iitom).|
We are very excited by the progress that Ricardo has made and the difference he is making within the Comcáac indigenous community. Save The Snakes continues to support Ricardo and his efforts to educate others about snakes.
Ricardo’s project is a recipient of the 2019 Save The Snakes Support Grant Program. Save The Snakes Support Grants are made possible because of the generosity of compassionate people and organizations who are inspired and dedicated to protect threatened snake populations and mitigate human-snake conflict around the world. Please donate today to help us continue to fund projects like Ricardo’s snake conservation project in Mexico. Thank you for your support.