ARG UK Autumn Seminar Series: Conserving amphibians and reptiles in South Africa, working in harmony with communities to overcome fear and improve local knowledge. Presented by Peter Gillatt (Chair, Hampshire and Isle of Wight Amphibian and Reptile group - HIWARG), himself originally from South Africa, we were extremely honoured to welcome two leading South African amphibian and reptile conservationists Nick Evans - Snake Rescuer and Fortunate Mafeta Phaka, Director of Youth 4 African Wildlife, both from KwaZulu-Natal.
We last heard from Fortunate at the Amphibian Conservation Research Symposium at the University of Kent in 2017 - where he told us about his work at the Ndumo Game Reserve, so it was fantastic to find out more about his recent community outreach programme on frogs - translated into nine local languages. Nick has also done an amazing job with his outreach programme on snakes, and notably rescues some of the planet's most venomous snakes including the locally feared Black Mamba, from a variety of unlikely spots (even a hamster cage - where it was found to have replaced the hamster in the morning, as the family pet).
What was striking were the similarities with the issues we have in the United Kingdom - how people can come to love frogs when properly introduced; and the parallels with our own native adder - as continued development and fragmentation of its habitats brings humans into close proximity with these venomous snakes, as they go about their daily lives.
To watch this video on the ARG UK YouTube channel visit the site here: https://youtu.be/e-c9YZkaDgE