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Pythons 2

For a bit about what happens when you call the police/a snake catcher if you report a python or other snake, see below, from the Kadoorie Farm & Botanic Garden (KFBG) website. See more here: Kadoorie Farm's advice... this photo by Jack Ferguson, who was hanging off a bridge to take it.

FROM THE SITE In 1999 Kadoorie Farm & Botanic Garden (KFBG) commenced a snake rescue project in partnership with the Agriculture, Fisheries & Conservation Department (AFCD) and the HKSAR Police. This ongoing project helps in the mitigation of human-snake conflicts in Hong Kong. Since the beginning of the project the rescue professionals at the Wild Animal Rescue Centre of KFBG have received nearly 8,000 snakes (Edit:this was written in 2016). These were mostly received from the Police following capture by a local ‘seh wong’ (snake catcher) and subsequently delivered to KFBG in a specially designed transport and holding box and bag, to ensure staff safety and the wellbeing of the rescued snakes. Health checks were made on all snakes soon after their arrival at KFBG, to discover whether any injuries were sustained before or during capture that needed attention. Most of the snakes were found to be healthy and were released back to the wild in Country Parks, and other wilderness areas, away from human habitation soon after being received, so as to minimize their stress.

This python was moving towards me, when it stopped and scented my presence.

This is slightly different for pythons as previous to 2010 AFCD shipped them over to a China to an undisclosed fate…but since then Kadoorie Farm now takes captured pythons and after study/tagging are released back into the wild in an areas of less conflict. I understand that they process about 100 - 200 pythons per year. If you are interested then please join their membership programme, and also think about making a donation.

Kadoorie Farm's advice...

Think twice before calling 999 to deal with snake conflict issues. Is the snake really causing a threat? If you back off, wait a while and give the snake space it may solve the immediate conflict itself by moving away

Please do not attack any snake - this may cause the snake to instinctively defend itself.

HUMAN – SNAKE CONFLICT MITIGATION – a service to wild snakes and the communit

Younger pythons can be found in trees...very rarely.

There is also this very interesting report from August 2016 about a rogue python. Also from the KFBG site:

You may have heard about the case of the Pak Tam Chung Burmese Python that had a notorious history of attacking pet dogs and more recently biting a man on the leg as he was walking his dog in the Country Park. This 4.3m female python was captured by a local snake handler and passed to KFBG while its future fate was considered by the AFCD. On arrival at KFBG the snake experts, including KFBG’s Wild Animal Veterinarian were concerned about the elderly female snake’s emaciated appearance and weak condition. Our Veterinarian undertook some blood tests to determine her condition. In the meantime a decision had been made not to release her back to the wild, in the public interest, because of her history of conflict with humans and pet dogs. Also we were considering keeping her as a long term captive animal in an existing snake enclosure. Here we could have shared her story with our education programme visitors. Unfortunately, the health-check results indicated that she was suffering from a serious kidney condition which was not reversible. We conducted a second health check to confirm the results. This condition may have been age-related and also might have accounted for her repeat ambush behavior from the side of a public path. Sitting waiting for dogs would have required less energy and she may have modified her behaviour to take advantage of this feeding strategy. We believe that her condition may have prevented her from carrying out normal hunting behaviour which would have been more energy demanding (natural prey that pythons hunt in the wild includes wild boar and barking deer). We feel that it is possible that she mistook the man’s leg for a dog as he may have had his dog’s scent on his leg. Burmese Pythons very rarely attack people and they would normally not waste time trying to constrict an animal that would be too big to swallow. can you see me?

Based on over twenty years of experience of treating wild animals we believed that the serious, irreversible kidney condition was causing her suffering. KFBG’s trained experts made the decision to euthanize her on welfare grounds. This action was proposed to AFCD and AFCD duly supported it.

The wildlife care team at KFBG will continue to play their role in conserving the local snakes and work with AFCD and the HK Police in mitigating this human – snake conflict. We would prefer that snakes were left alone and not removed from the wild unless it is necessary for safety. Clearly better education of citizens living in and using Hong Kong’s rural areas might help to prevent some of the ‘emergency’ calls that result in the police delivering small harmless species that could have been left alone.


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