Save The Snakes works locally in India to solve two global problems: Snakes populations are decreasing and humans are seriously threatened by snakebite. Each year in India, over 46,000 people die from snakebite, which accounts for almost half of worldwide snakebite deaths. Rural communities in the Eastern Ghats of India are poor and lack access to appropriate medical care when a snakebite occurs. The current solution for mitigating this snakebite crisis is to indiscriminately kill snakes. This is a disaster for the environment as snakes serve as an integral role in the ecosystem and control rodent populations, which spread disease to humans. Humans and snakes need each other, but they are currently in conflict.

In the Eastern Ghats, there have been no related efforts by any other organization to work with these communities and to implement such conservation efforts. Secondly, there are very few organizations/research institutes that focus their efforts on data collection to further understand the ecology of king cobras in this region of India. Current studies and initiatives contribute to enhanced knowledge about the biology of the species, but do not address the conservation concerns that threaten king cobras in the Eastern Ghats of India. Our community-based approach is unique in the area because we aim to mitigate immediate human-induced threats to species by working with all the stakeholders, while simultaneously collecting scientific data to identify, as well as prioritize, critical habitats for species conservation.

Save The Snakes programs are implemented in rural locations close to wilderness areas where there is a high incidence of human-snake encounters and there is rich snake species diversity. Local communities are the main stakeholders for this project and our conservation efforts are reliant on long-term and positive partnerships with villages in the region. Most of our team members are native to this part of India and they will be able to effectively use their own local knowledge of wildlife, established relationships with community stakeholders and cultural proficiency to support the successful implementation of the project activities. We will collect qualitative and quantitative data using locally trained citizen scientists and collate this data on species occurrence and prevailing threats to devise conservation measures for the species at a landscape level perspective.

Save The Snakes is dedicated to protecting snake populations and improving the livelihoods of communities in the Eastern Ghats of India.

In the future at identified locations that support healthy king cobra populations, we plan to provide livelihood incentives in exchange for cooperation with our snake conservation efforts. Such incentives will include, but are not limited to the following: we will create women’s cooperatives, where women can make mosquito nets for the community (mosquito nets reduce disease transmission spread by insects as well as reduce encounters with snakes that enter people’s homes at night) and gifts to sell to fund snake conservation efforts; we will establish a working organic coffee and tea farm that will provide an economic incentive for community members; and we will create a “snake school” where community members can learn about snake ecology and conservation, gain skills in snakebite first aid and treatment and be given access to a computer and book library.

You can further help Save The Snakes by donating, volunteering or spreading the word about our snake conservation efforts. Thanks for saving the snakes!

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