Save The Snakes supports Kamal Devkota to mitigate human-snake conflict in the Rupandehi District of Nepal. Kamal Devkota is a snake expert, conservation biologist and board member at Nepal Toxinology Association.
“Save Snakes Save Nature: A Conservational Effort through Community Participation in Rupandehi District, Nepal.”
More than 3,500 species of snakes are found throughout the world; only 600 species (Chippaux 1998) of them are reported as venomous. In Nepal, different authors list around 79 to 82 (Shah and Tiwari 2004, Kästle et al., 2013) species of snakes among which 18 medically relevant venomous snakes have been reported till now (Sharma et al., 2013). These are broadly distributed in the lowlands to high mountains in Nepal. From Kamal’s previous research work, “Snakes and their Conservation in Rupandehi District, Nepal” funded by The Rufford Foundation, he found that majority of the people of Rupandehi have negative attitude towards snakes and there is lack of knowledge on the importance of conservation of snakes. There is urgent need to raise awareness regarding snakes conservation among local communities living in Rupandehi district including farmers, academicians, health personnel, community forest user groups, policymakers, media etc.
During visits to the project site, Kamal and his team were getting more and more calls from local people requesting them to conduct snake conservation awareness programs and workshops in their localities. Therefore, educating local people about snake identification to enable them to distinguish venomous snakes from non-venomous is the most essential in view of public health and biodiversity conservation. This project aims to address this information and awareness gap about snake conservation by implementing a holistic approach to increase awareness among local communities.
Most of the studies of snakes in Nepal are concentrated to analyze the annual snakebite incidences, morbidity, mortality and case fatality rate; mainly in the Terai region. This project will undertake an array of educational initiatives on snake conservation, targeted at the local and national levels which will have direct beneficial impact on more than 80 snake species in the country.To achieve the aims, one district level snake conservation workshop, 25 snake conservation awareness camps, four workshops in communities and four radio programs will be conducted. With support from Save The Snakes, Kamal and his team will establish a snake rescue centre and four snake information centres in the Rupandehi District. They plan to distribute snake tongs and train community members to rescue and relocate snakes. They will produce and distribute snake conservation related educational materials. This project will create conducive working environment among local people from different sectors to save snakes and to save nature directly and indirectly throughout the project using multitude of communication, education and public awareness tools. These initiatives may help to spread the knowledge on advantages of conservation of snakes to biodiversity which can play an important role in nature conservation.
Project Objectives and Goals:
- To find out status, diversity and distribution of snakes in Nepal
- To continue “Save Snakes Save Nature” campaign nationwide
- To establish snakebite management training and research centre
- Community awareness through participation to build capacity of local people
- To minimize human-snake conflict in community
- Awareness through media : Street Drama, Forum Theatre, Video Documentaries
- Article in Newspaper and Journals, Educational Materials, F.M. Radio, Television programs
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