HHiSS conquers South Africa!!

Not really. But almost.

 HHiSS was invited to attend and give a presentation about the work it does in Zambia in increasing safety for both snakes and humans in snake encounters.

On 12th January, I traveled to South Africa with Choti Singh, the Director of Operations for Save the Snakes in Zambia, to represent Helping Hands in Snake Safety at the 15th Annual Conference of the Herpetological Association of Africa in Hoedspruit. In Johannesburg, were joined by Michael Starkey, Founder and Director of Save the Snakes.

In Johannesburg, Choti and Michael attended the full Snake Identification, Snakebite Treatment and Venomous Snake Handling course by Mike Perry, the owner of African Reptiles and Venom.

The next day the three of us travelled to Hoedspruit where we visited the Hoedspruit Reptile Centre. The owners and staff hosted the HAA conference which took place at the Hoedspruit Rhino Convention centre. The visit to the reptile centre gave us a good insight into how to design and manage a reptile park as well as ways I which to design and organise enclosures. (Thank you, Jess, for the private tour behind the scenes!)

The conference took place from January 16th to January 19th. It was attended by over a hundred delegates, most from South Africa, but with some delegates coming from as far as the USA, Europe and India; some of whom were young researchers and students in the field of herpetology, others famous herpetologists, writers of herpetological books and research papers.

Representing HHiSS, I gave a presentation about the work that HHiSS does in Zambia and the plans we have for building a reptile park and research facility in the Nsefu sector in Zambia’s Eastern Province. The conference has given HHiSS (and by extension, Zambia) a lot of interesting and important information on reptiles and amphibians, herpetological research and the management of a reptile facility in Zambia.

On return to Johannesburg, Choti and I, attended the tailor-made Advance Snakebite Management training and Reptile Husbandry training from Arno Naude of Snakebite Assist.

Without outside support, HHiSS would not have been able to attend this fantastic opportunity. We are very grateful for the support to cover the accommodation costs by our partners, Save the Snakes. In addition, we would like to express our gratitude to Andrina International Holdings Zambia for covering the costs of the flight to and from South Africa.

We are further grateful to both Mike Perry and his team at African Reptiles and Venom as well as to Arno Naude of Snakebite Assist for accommodating us and providing training courses outside their regular, planned training cycles.

Finally, thank you very much to the conference organisers, especially to Chris and Jess and their team for getting us involved and enabling me to speak at the HAA 2023!