Unfortunately one of the very rare, but possible, realities of living in Watamu is the chance of being bitten by a poisonous snake. Fortunately very few visitors ever experience this, but the local people who work in the orchards, plucking fruit from mango trees and digging in the fields, are not so fortunate. Most of these people cannot afford the very high costs of Antivenom, which is the only proven cure for a venomous snakebite.

James Ashe, a world authority on African snakes and snakebite, who founded Bio-Ken Snake Farm in 1980, started a crusade many years ago to help people in desperate need of Antivenom. He very often gave from his own Snake Farm emergency antivenom stock, regularly at no cost to those who could not afford to pay for it.

James unfortunately passed away in September 2004 and in memory of his great, and much needed, work in this area, a trust was formed to continue this trend. The James Ashe Antivenom Trust collects donations from people and uses these funds primarily to pay for Antivenom which is brought in to the country and given free of charge to those who cannot afford it. The Trust also provides Antivenom to others more privileged (and their pets and livestock) in need of Antivenom at cost price.

Recently the Trust has also undertaken several education schemes to educate the public on how to avoid these encounters, correct first aid procedures and up to date treatment of snakebite.
If you are in need of advice regarding a snakebite, require antivenom or wish to make a contribution to the Trust please contact one of the Trustees on +254 42 23 32303 or +254 718 290324. The trust is situated at Bio-Ken Snake Farm.

“Anti-venom is like the Texan’s gun. He doesn’t need it often, but when he needs it, he needs it real bad.” James Ashe

Further information can be found on the Bio-Ken website.

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David Williams interviews Professor David Warrell on the problem of snakebite in Africa

Snakebite in Sub-Saharan Africa

Following the 8th Bio-Ken Snakebite Seminar held in Watamu on 10 November 2012, David Williams of the Global Snakebite Initiative (among other organisations) interviews Professor Warrell of Oxford University.

Thanks to Mr. Williams and Professor Warrell for sharing with us.