Public perceptions of snakes and snakebite management: implications for conservation and human health in southern Nepal

Persistent Link:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/617404
Title:
Public perceptions of snakes and snakebite management: implications for conservation and human health in southern Nepal
Author:
Pandey, Deb Prasad; Subedi Pandey, Gita; Devkota, Kamal; Goode, Matt
Affiliation:
Univ Arizona, Sch Nat Resources & Environm, Wildlife Conservat & Management
Issue Date:
2016-06-02
Publisher:
BIOMED CENTRAL LTD
Citation:
Public perceptions of snakes and snakebite management: implications for conservation and human health in southern Nepal 2016, 12 (1) Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine
Journal:
Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine
Rights:
© 2016 Pandey et al. Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Collection Information:
This item from the UA Faculty Publications collection is made available by the University of Arizona with support from the University of Arizona Libraries. If you have questions, please contact us at repository@u.library.arizona.edu.
Abstract:
Background: Venomous snakebite and its effects are a source of fear for people living in southern Nepal. As a result, people have developed a negative attitude towards snakes, which can lead to human-snake conflicts that result in killing of snakes. Attempting to kill snakes increases the risk of snakebite, and actual killing of snakes contributes to loss of biodiversity. Currently, snake populations in southern Nepal are thought to be declining, but more research is needed to evaluate the conservation status of snakes. Therefore, we assessed attitudes, knowledge, and awareness of snakes and snakebite by Chitwan National Park's (CNP) buffer zone (BZ) inhabitants in an effort to better understand challenges to snake conservation and snakebite management. The results of this study have the potential to promote biodiversity conservation and increase human health in southern Nepal and beyond. Methods: We carried out face-to-face interviews of 150 randomly selected CNP BZ inhabitants, adopting a cross-sectional mixed research design and structured and semi-structured questionnaires from January-February 2013. Results: Results indicated that 43 % of respondents disliked snakes, 49 % would exterminate all venomous snakes, and 86 % feared snakes. Farmers were the most negative and teachers were the most ambivalent towards snakes. Respondents were generally unable to identify different snake species, and were almost completely unaware of the need of conserve snakes and how to prevent snakebites. Belief in a snake god, and the ability of snakes to absorb poisonous gases from the atmosphere were among many superstitions that appeared to predispose negativity towards snakes of BZ residents. Conclusion: People with predisposed negativity towards snakes were not proponents of snake conservation. Fear, negativity, ambivalence towards, and ignorance about, snakes and the need for snake conservation were strong indicators of the propensity to harm or kill snakes. It seems that if wanton killing of snakes continues, local snake populations will decline, and rare and endangered snake species may even become locally extirpated. Moreover, inappropriate perception and knowledge about snakes and snakebites may put BZ people at increased risk of venomous snakebite. Therefore, intensive, pragmatic educational efforts focused on natural history and ecology of snakes and prevention of snakebite should be undertaken in communities and at schools and universities.
Note:
Open access.
ISSN:
1746-4269
DOI:
10.1186/s13002-016-0092-0
Keywords:
Snake species diversity; Snake identification; Conservation; Snake worship; Snakebite; Ethno-ophiology; Ecosystem health; Key stone species
Version:
Final published version
Sponsors:
Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre, Senckenberg Research Institute; Natural History Museum, Frankfurt am Main, Germany by a DAAD
Additional Links:
http://ethnobiomed.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13002-016-0092-0

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.contributor.authorPandey, Deb Prasaden
dc.contributor.authorSubedi Pandey, Gitaen
dc.contributor.authorDevkota, Kamalen
dc.contributor.authorGoode, Matten
dc.date.accessioned2016-07-23T00:32:18Z-
dc.date.available2016-07-23T00:32:18Z-
dc.date.issued2016-06-02-
dc.identifier.citationPublic perceptions of snakes and snakebite management: implications for conservation and human health in southern Nepal 2016, 12 (1) Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicineen
dc.identifier.issn1746-4269-
dc.identifier.doi10.1186/s13002-016-0092-0-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10150/617404-
dc.description.abstractBackground: Venomous snakebite and its effects are a source of fear for people living in southern Nepal. As a result, people have developed a negative attitude towards snakes, which can lead to human-snake conflicts that result in killing of snakes. Attempting to kill snakes increases the risk of snakebite, and actual killing of snakes contributes to loss of biodiversity. Currently, snake populations in southern Nepal are thought to be declining, but more research is needed to evaluate the conservation status of snakes. Therefore, we assessed attitudes, knowledge, and awareness of snakes and snakebite by Chitwan National Park's (CNP) buffer zone (BZ) inhabitants in an effort to better understand challenges to snake conservation and snakebite management. The results of this study have the potential to promote biodiversity conservation and increase human health in southern Nepal and beyond. Methods: We carried out face-to-face interviews of 150 randomly selected CNP BZ inhabitants, adopting a cross-sectional mixed research design and structured and semi-structured questionnaires from January-February 2013. Results: Results indicated that 43 % of respondents disliked snakes, 49 % would exterminate all venomous snakes, and 86 % feared snakes. Farmers were the most negative and teachers were the most ambivalent towards snakes. Respondents were generally unable to identify different snake species, and were almost completely unaware of the need of conserve snakes and how to prevent snakebites. Belief in a snake god, and the ability of snakes to absorb poisonous gases from the atmosphere were among many superstitions that appeared to predispose negativity towards snakes of BZ residents. Conclusion: People with predisposed negativity towards snakes were not proponents of snake conservation. Fear, negativity, ambivalence towards, and ignorance about, snakes and the need for snake conservation were strong indicators of the propensity to harm or kill snakes. It seems that if wanton killing of snakes continues, local snake populations will decline, and rare and endangered snake species may even become locally extirpated. Moreover, inappropriate perception and knowledge about snakes and snakebites may put BZ people at increased risk of venomous snakebite. Therefore, intensive, pragmatic educational efforts focused on natural history and ecology of snakes and prevention of snakebite should be undertaken in communities and at schools and universities.en
dc.description.sponsorshipSenckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre, Senckenberg Research Institute; Natural History Museum, Frankfurt am Main, Germany by a DAADen
dc.language.isoenen
dc.publisherBIOMED CENTRAL LTDen
dc.relation.urlhttp://ethnobiomed.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13002-016-0092-0en
dc.rights© 2016 Pandey et al. Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).en
dc.subjectSnake species diversityen
dc.subjectSnake identificationen
dc.subjectConservationen
dc.subjectSnake worshipen
dc.subjectSnakebiteen
dc.subjectEthno-ophiologyen
dc.subjectEcosystem healthen
dc.subjectKey stone speciesen
dc.titlePublic perceptions of snakes and snakebite management: implications for conservation and human health in southern Nepalen
dc.typeArticleen
dc.contributor.departmentUniv Arizona, Sch Nat Resources & Environm, Wildlife Conservat & Managementen
dc.identifier.journalJournal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicineen
dc.description.noteOpen access.en
dc.description.collectioninformationThis item from the UA Faculty Publications collection is made available by the University of Arizona with support from the University of Arizona Libraries. If you have questions, please contact us at repository@u.library.arizona.edu.en
dc.eprint.versionFinal published versionen
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