Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: An education programme and establishment of a citizen scientist network to reduce killing of non-venomous snakes in Malappuram district, Kerala, India

Published source details

Balakrishnan P. (2010) An education programme and establishment of a citizen scientist network to reduce killing of non-venomous snakes in Malappuram district, Kerala, India. Conservation Evidence, 7, 9-15

Summary

A public education and citizen science programme was developed to improve data collection on incidences of deliberate killing of snakes and to reduce unfounded killing of snakes in human dominated landscapes of Kerala, southwest India. During 2003-2009, citizen scientists recorded 278 direct human kills and more than 200 kills of snakes by vehicular collision, agricultural practices and attack by pets. Participants managed to prevent killing of 276 non-venomous snakes (of 14 taxa). The non-venomous Travancore wolf snake Lycodon travancoricus (a batesian mimic of the deadly venomous Indian krait Bungarus caeruleus) was the species that benefited most of the programme. In addition, the conservation education programme (highlighting ecosystem services of reptiles) resulted in positive attitudinal changes among local people towards the conservation of snakes and general biodiversity of the region.