PRESS RELEASE – Activities promoting the safe handling of the Fer-de-Lance (Bothrops caribbaeus) will be undertaken during the week of 25th to 29th January 2016.
Trainers from the Kentucky Reptile Zoo (KRZ) and local Medical Doctors have been engaged to conduct training sessions. KRZ is a co-funder of this project and is also known for housing one of the largest collections of venomous snakes in the world.
The target groups for these training sessions include, Forest Rangers, Utility Workers, Surveyors, Babonneau Youth Synergy, Saint Lucia National Trust, Red Cross, St. John’s Ambulance, Farmers and residents in snake-prone communities.
This initiative is jointly implemented by the SLNT and the Forestry and Land Resources Department of the Ministry of Sustainable Development, Energy, Science and Technology (MSDEST) and forms part of a Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme (GEF-SGP) funded project entitled “Conservation and Management of the Endemic Fer-de-Lance (Bothrops caribbaeus) on the small island developing state of Saint Lucia”.
Among a few other objectives, the project seeks to implement some of the actions recommended by the five-year Fer-de-Lance Management Plan which was developed in late 2014 through a consultative process in collaboration with the MSDEST, Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust and Fauna and Flora International.
As it relates to this component of the project, this Training will seek to: (i) Implement actions to ensure that people at risk of snake bite because of their work or where they live get training and get access to subsidized resources to prevent snake bite and allow them to access health care effectively if they are bitten; (ii) Develop, implement and monitor a zero-kill policy for the Fer-de-Lance within all Forest Reserves in Saint Lucia and (iii) Reduce the risk and complications from snake bites by increasing public awareness through disseminating factual information in communities and to workers with a high probability of encountering the viper.
It is vital that Saint Lucia implement measures to ensure that the Fer-de-Lance is protected because it is endemic to our island and its eradication will result in its extinction. Preliminary research has also revealed that the Fer-de-Lance may also contain substances that may be beneficial to the medicinal community.
The Training sessions include:
-Snake Bite Safety Training – 25th January 2016
-Fer-de-Lance Handling Training for Forestry Officers – 26th and 29th January 2016
Additionally, we invite residents from Dennery, Millet, Anse La Raye and surrounding communities to attend the Community Meetings held in their districts to learn about the Fer-de-Lance and how to protect themselves and their families.
-Community Meeting at Chateau Heritage, By-Pass Road, Dennery –Wednesday, 27th January 2016 from 4:00 p.m.
-Community Meeting at Tete Chemin Community Centre, Millet – Thursday, 28th January 2016 from 4:00 p.m.