Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Workshop for Snake handler’s held.

A Snake Handler’s workshop was held at Sweet Home Guest house, Candolim on 17th July by Herpactive in collabration with the Mhadei Research Center.

The workshop was attended by 18 snake handlers and rescuers from North Goa. These inlcuded rescuers from NGO’s, individual wildlife volunteers and reptile enthusiasts.

Goan herpetologist Nirmal Kulkarni conducted the 3 hour workshop and was assisted by Ms Glenda Dsouza and Ms Tarika Kiran.

Participants were familiarized with tools and equipment used for snake study and were also made aware of the latest snake bite protocol as is practiced in moderen times.

Other topics included were introduction to basic data sheets and keeping records, techniques and need for serious snake research in Goa and the legal aspects of snake and reptile conservation.

Another important topic covered was the effects of rescue and relocation of snakes from urban to forest habitat. The need for creating awareness about snakes and their benefits in an urban landscape was aslo stressed and discussed by all present.

The program ended with a film ‘One Million Snake Bites’ that was screened for the participants.

The workshop was the first in a series of workshops to be held across the state for creating awareness about serious reptile conservation in the state of Goa. Herpactive is an initiative by Nirmal Kulkarni, herpetologist and wildlife photographer to create awareness and instill appreciation for Herpetofauna (reptiles and amphibians) of Goa in particular and the country in general. Herpactive aims to promote the science of field herpetology by conducting walks, surveys, training workshops and field technique sessions for budding herp- enthusiasts as well as serious students of mainstream science.

Sunday, July 10, 2011


Over the last few years, I have found more youth interested in snake handling and more specifically, in rescues in the state of Goa. The skills that some of you posses vary for mere handling of snakes to observation and photography,etc.

Many rescuers are now at a stage where they have done all the ‘cool stuff’, posed with with various species for pictures and kept some of the attractive species in captive conditions.

Unfortunately, what lacks is collection and compilation of data that would help you study these reptiles and help conservation in the long run. A need for a common protocol for snake rescue and release needs to worked out as this will help minimze and address issues relating reptile-human conflict and provide vital answers to this growing problem. Rethinking the need for snake rescues and other aspects of snake conservation is also the need of the hour.

Keeping these objective in mind we at HERPACTIVE are taking this initiative to bring together 25 snake rescuers of North Goa as a first step towrds helping train snake rescuers in the new Snake Bite Protocol, Data sheet maintainence and basic taxonomy besides other related activity. This is an opportunity for those snake handlers who wish to take a step ahead beyond being mere snake rescuers and combine hands on work with serious study of herpetofauna.

The 2nd stage will have a similar program in South Goa for snake rescuers in South Goa.

Date – 17th July 2011 (Sunday)

Time- 10.00am to 1.00pm.

Venue- Candolim, Bardez Goa. (Exact venue will be intimated at later stage)

Age Group- Above 18 years and above.


Criteria- Snake handlers from North Goa only who are currently rescuing snakes on a first come first serve basis.

Number of seats- 25.

Contact person- Ms Tarika Kiran on 08322278276 and 08322409999.


1. Introduction to Basic Taxonomy.

2. Familiarization and handling of tools and equipment used for Snake study.

3. Introdutcion to Snake Bite protocol and First Aid.

4. Rethinking Snake handling and rescue- science vs hobby.

5. The path ahead- snakes matter!

Saturday, July 2, 2011



1st Announcement.

Dear herp enthusiast/researcher,

Goa has a vast diversity of snakes of which a few are venomous and one needs to be aware of the same. They are an integral part of our urban as well as rural landscapes and a vital component of any healthy ecosystem. It is the need of the hour to create awareness in urban as well as rural Goa about identification and importance of these species in our environment.

Of course, there is no one specific simple single rule for identifying a venomous snake, as many non- venomous ones have evolved to look like their venomous brethren. However, some of the more medically important ones (yes that’s what they are termed as) can be recognized by their shape, size, color, behavior and sound they make when they are threatened in the field.

Our endeavor will be to document and map these venomous snakes in our environs and in the forests of Goa and compile a simple data sheet for identification of these species in the local language for the public.

We will also address issues of conflict that arise due to disturbance in habitat or loss of prey, both of which sadly are factors that are created by humans.

Join us to conduct opportunistic field surveys, night trails and transect searches in Goa’s wilderness while we attempt to achieve the above objectives.

We will interact with filed staff of the Forest department and snake rescuers, do fieldwork in remote locale and combine field science with local knowledge to help understand these highly ignored group of biodiversity.

This is an opportunity for those who seek to get training about the importance of venomous snakes and their ecology or an occasion to experience first hand the techniques of field data collection at the height of the South West Monsoons.

For photographers and wildlife trekkers, this is a chance to take their skills to the next level as photo documentation will be a key factor here and the opportunities will be endless!


Essentials include keen interest to study herpetofauna and ability to work in a team in a given time frame. We will have to brave the South West monsoons and also spend a considerable amount of time in the field.

Dates:- 19th, 20th, 21st and 22nd of Aug 2011 (3 nights and 4 days).

Number of seats: - 8 seats.

Fees: - include food, accommodation and transport (Panjim to Panjim) during the program.

For more details email ophidian_nirmal@yahoo.co.in or call Glenda on 09822586918.

At the Madras Crocodile Bank Trust.

It was great to be at the Madras Crocodile Bank Trust and Centre for Herpetology, Chennai with vet Dr Gowri Mallapur and Dr Collin, Director of MCBT. Also seen Mittal Gala and turtle expert and vet Dr Shanon Ferrell from Fort Worth zoo USA and volunteers.