If you talk to the animals they will talk with you and you will know each other. If you do not talk to them you will not know them, and what you do not know you will fear. What one fears one destroys.Chief Dan George
Snake conservation is a daunting challenge, especially when the fear of snakes is deep-rooted in our minds. Conservation is only possible when people shed their hatred towards these misunderstood beings. Therefore, awareness plays a crucial role in shaping our outlook and tolerance towards them.
To better conserve the much-misunderstood snakes & to mitigate snakebite deaths, we carry out various educational outreach programs.
- Reptile handling & captive care management course
The Friends of Snakes Society trains passionate individuals in the ethical handling of astray snakes under the Reptile handling & captive care management program. The six-month-long program aims to train interested individuals in the ethical and safe handling of non-venomous & venomous snakes & reptiles. The trainees attend the free course to get certified & volunteer as snake rescuers, protecting snakes that enter human habitation. These rescued reptiles are relocated to suitable forest areas, after receiving necessary permissions.
- Basics of Herpetology course
In collaboration with the Forest College Research Institute (FCRI), the organization conducts a Herpetology course for students enrolled for a Bachelor’s degree at FCRI, a government-run college. The 40-hour course, part of the second-year BSc Forestry course curriculum, includes basics of herpetology, herpetofaunal distribution, ecophysiological adaptations, anatomy & physiology, zoogeography, conservation challenges, etc.
- Peoples’ Biodiversity Register workshops
The Friends of Snakes Society, in collaboration with Environmental Protection Training Research Institute, a government-aided center for forest & wildlife education, conducts an annual workshop on ‘Peoples’ Biodiversity Register’ (PBR). A central-government initiative, the PBR program helps in upskilling biologists in various enumeration techniques & documenting wildlife biodiversity. Experts from FOSS conduct awareness sessions on the distribution & identification of amphibians & reptiles of this region.
- Snake Awareness Workshops
Every year, FOSS conducts over 200 snake awareness workshops at various schools, colleges, & companies to educate & sensitize the public about the common species of snakes. These one-hour sessions are designed to cover broad subjects on animal identification, distribution, myth-busting, snakebite avoidance, first-aid, threats, & conservation efforts. Annually, over two lakh individuals attend & benefit from this program. The efficacy of these sessions can be validated by the increase in the number of snake rescue calls & the decrease in snakebites in the region.
- Forest Personnel Workshops
The expertise of FOSS in the field of herpetofauna conservation is recognized by the public & the government machinery. We conduct several capacity-building workshops for the forest department personnel in the state of Telangana. We have carried out workshops to
a. train zookeepers in restriction, handling, & captive care of reptiles,
b. upskill forest department personnel in wildlife census techniques, including the training sessions for the All India Tiger Estimation 2018 & 2022.
c. Train forest personnel in the safe handling of snakes, etc.
The Friends of Snakes Society has been contributing immensely to the field of wildlife education. As a result of our efforts, every year, we save thousands of snakes from being beaten to death and hundreds of human beings being bitten to death. With the help of its dedicated volunteer base, the organization intends to continue the education & training efforts to increase awareness, conserve snakes & reptiles, and reduce human fatalities due to snake bites.
Page under construction. 27-11-2022