snake rescue &awareness Programme

 

Background:

ZENWE Trust has been involved in snake rescue operations since it was formed in 2015 and the co founder Mike Hitschmann since 1987. He has attended to snake call-outs in and around Mutare and when funds permit to all the other distant parts of Manicaland Province (Population: 1.753 million (2012) Area: 36,459 km²). It has been observed in recent years that the number of deadly venomous snakes occurring in residential areas is increasing. Human misconceptions, as a result of superstitions and myths about snakes, have only made the interaction of the 2 species fatal.  All around the world snakes have been looked upon as evil. Africa is not an exception to these beliefs influenced by religions and cultures. In Zimbabwe the threat to lives of both parties has significantly increased due to 2 main reasons:

  1. The lack of service delivery nationwide by City Councils which has created a chronic refuse disposal problem which attracts rodents. These rodents are food to various venomous snake species such as Snouted/Banded Egyptian cobra, Mozambique spitting cobra, Black mamba, Puff adder etc. This has become such an issue that the numbers of these deadly venomous snakes occurring in residential areas including schools are increasing dramatically.

  2. The unavailability of antivenom in local hospitals which has resulted in snake bites even of puff adders being fatal

Objectives:

The objectives of the Snake Exhibition/ Awareness campaigns are to:

  1. Discuss some of the myths and superstitions surrounding snakes which are the ones that cause humans to panic when they see one and react in ways that endanger their lives and that of the snakes as well.

  2. Help the public identify various snake species that commonly occur in their areas.

  3. Educate them on how these snakes function and how to act if one sees one.

  4. Educate them on ways to minimize the chances of a venomous snake living on their property.

  5. Discourage them with reasons from attempting to kill or catch any snake –and rather call the professionals to handle the problem.

  6. Alert the public to the fact that the snake bite anti venom is no longer being held in local hospitals.

  7. Highlight the relationship between poor refuse disposal methods, rodents and snakes.

  8. Explain the relationship between snakes and humans pointing out how snakes do not consider humans as prey or “food” but only bite in defense and do not always inject venom even if they do bite.

  9. Highlighting the various deadly diseases that are transmitted by rodents to humans e.g the Bubonic Plague which is being reported to be killing people in Madagascar as well as increasing reports of leptospirosis infections. The aim is to highlight how snakes play a role in reducing the outbreak of such diseases and/or epidemics.

 

Progress Update

Progress Report:

  • On the 23rd of December 2017 we hosted our first snake exhibition/awareness campaign at Meikles Park Mutare which was a success. 312people were served. Unfortunately, some people who came after 3pm could not be served as the hired tent was now needed back. The peoples’ reactions, openness and willingness to learn and understand more about snakes was quite motivating. The snakes that featured included a Snouted Egyptian cobra, Mozambique Spitting cobra, Spotted bush snake, Wolf snake, African Rock Python and 2 Puff adders.

As we continue to receive snake call outs, we have added to our collection a Forest cobra, a Brown House Snake and a Gaboon viper which have also adapted well to captivity.

      Meikles Park, Mutare, Zimbabwe Snake Awareness Exhibition:1

  • On the 21st of January 2018 we were invited to a local radio station, Diamond FM for a snake interview for an hour. Please watch video below:

  • On the 26th of May 2018 we did the 2nd Snake Awareness Exhibition at Meikles Park Mutare. This time because we had added 2more hours we anticipated 600people but to our surprise we managed to serve at least 856 people with many others coming after 5pm so we unfortunately could not attend to them. We are really excited with this outcome and with the levels of interest shown by the Manicaland Community in these Snake Awareness Programmes. Considering the extreme fear humans in general have towards snakes we do applaud this community for such an open mind. "Where there is a will there is a way", And the will in this case is just unbelievable. From the comments that we got from those who came we believe the road to the Reduction_of_Human_Snake_Conflict, in this community has been paved, there is so much hope.

       Meikles Park, Mutare, Zimbabwe Snake Awareness Exhibition:2

 

Short &Long Term Goals

Short term goals:

Our immediate goals are to:

  1. Increase our snake collection with other species that humans are mostly likely to bump into due to the reasons above. These snakes include the Black Mamba, Banded Egyptian cobra and Boomslang.

  2. Host snake exhibition/ awareness campaigns in all the local schools, primary, secondary and tertiary.

  3. Host snake exhibition/ awareness campaigns in residential areas, all high, medium, low density suburbs as well as rural areas throughout Manicaland Province.

 

Requirements:

  • Additional Snake Boxes

  • 5m x 10m Tent

  • Tables &chairs

  • Improving the vehicle (a 1961 Borgward 4x4 truck) for the comfort of the snakes especially for long distances and incorporating cooking and camping facilities for the “crew”.

 

Long term goal:

Our long term goal is to start up a Snake &Reptile Centre in an easily accessible area.

This will allow people to:

  1. Engage more with snakes regularly, reducing their intense fear towards snakes.

  2. Appreciate these overlooked, hated and feared animals so that they can start preserving and conserving them and their natural environments.

  3. See the animals in their natural environment and see how peaceful and relaxed they are compared to the fictional ideas they have

© 2020 by ZenweTrust Zimbabwe.

71, 5th street

Mutare, Zimbabwe

Organisation registration number: 0000370/15

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