Through the Save The Snakes Support Grant Program, Save The Snakes supported Evan Quah in 2020 to reduce human-snake conflict in Setiu, Terengganu in Malaysia. Evan and his team members have much experience with human-snake conflict and working on education and outreach in rural parts of Malyasia. This project will further allow him and his team to increase awareness about snakes in the Setiu district of Malaysia. 

Project Title:
Assessing community perceptions and raising the profile of snakes through community education and outreach in a large natural wetland reserve in Malaysia.

Project Summary:

Snake conservation projects are rare globally, and there are currently no such efforts in Malaysia. Research involving snakes in Malaysia generally focus on taxonomy and systematics, as well as clinical toxicology. Approximately 25% of snake species in Malaysia are considered to have medical importance, but snakebite mortality is relatively low per year. In rural areas, it is a common perception that all snakes are dangerous and should be removed or even killed on sight. Human encounters with snakes often end badly for the snakes and there is little awareness among the community regarding the importance of the ecological roles of snakes, and that the majority of species are non-venomous and not harmful to humans. Ongoing community outreach and engagement does exist through the efforts of Dr Ju Lian Chong, and as a team member he will support Evan to gauge the local community’s perception towards snakes and involve and train community members in snake conservation efforts, thereby mitigating human-snake conflict in the long term.

Aims and Objectives:

The aim of this project is to assess the perception of the local community around Setiu Wetlands, Terengganu towards snakes and to raise the profile of these reptiles positively through community outreach programs. Questionnaire surveys will be used to gauge the community’s attitudes towards snakes and snake encounters. Based on the results and identified areas of need, the team will conduct training sessions for local community members on snake species identification and preparedness for human-snake encounters which will include ways to minimize encounters with snakes as well as basic first aid treatments. Information will be disseminated through public talks at community or visitor centres and around the Setiu Wetland Reserve, as well as at nearby schools for younger audience. Additional training will be provided for local nature guides on snake identification and guided herp walks around the Setiu Wetlands will also be conducted. Outreach print and online materials of common snake species in the area will be made available to aid in snake identification and provide basic advice on precautionary measures to navigate human-snake conflict situations.

Goal:

The goal of this project is to raise the profile of snakes within the local community at the Setiu Wetland Reserve and raise awareness about the important roles snakes play in the environment. In order to achieve this goal, it is crucial for us to engage the local community so that community perceptions shift over the long term and human-snake encounters can be resolved safely
both for humans and snakes. Therefore, training workshops as well as printed materials will help in building these skills among local community members. Posters will aid the team to reach a wider audience including visitors to the Setiu Wetland Reserve. 

Support Snake Conservation

Evan’s project is a recipient of the 2020 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 Evan’s snake conservation project in Malaysia. Thank you for your support.