A 3-day training on Snake Handling and Rescue was organized by the Ugyen Wangchuck Institute for Forestry Research and Training (UWIFoRT) and Nature Conservation Division with technical support from the Wildlife Trust of India and financial and kind support from Bhutan for Life and International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) on 18 – 20 October 2023. The Chief Forest Officer of Sarpang Forest Division was the Chief Guest and spoke of the importance of such training to capacitate our staff in safely rescuing snakes and their critical role in the ecosystem.
48 Forestry Officials attended representing different field forestry territorial divisions, parks and wildlife sanctuaries from across the country. Mr. Vivek Sharma and Ms. David Sukanya were resource persons leading the training program. Mr. Sharma presented talks on snake biology, identification along with the morphological traits and their behaviour, snake bite management as well and some handling techniques. He cautioned the participants on the 17 known venomous snakes which include Cobras, Kraits, and Pit Vipers. He also discussed and cautioned on various protocols namely telephone protocol, rescue protocol, rescue site protocol and release protocol. Mr. Sharma also led a practical session to handle the live specimen and some participants got hands-on training to safely rescue it. In the evening, participants were actively searching for a live specimen to have more practical sessions and these searches went past midnight but were not successful.
Ms Sukanya gave away about 30 rescue kits to all the field offices while the Nature Conservation Division of the Department of Forests and Park Services also distributed ‘tong’ which is an essential tool for snake handling.
The training also led to the creation of a WhatsApp group to help each other identify the snake when encountered and it's active with discussion and learning.
The story was covered by the Bhutan Broadcasting Services and a link to the story
It was also covered by the Wildlife Trust of India and their news link.https://www.wti.org.in/news/3-day-snake-rescue-workshop-for-frontline-forest-officers-in-bhutan/