Gerry Martin Leads Workshop For Sanctuary’s Project Leaders
On November 14, 2017, Gerry Martin, Founder of The Gerry Martin Project and one of India’s leading herpetologists, conducted a training workshop for Sanctuary’s three Mud on Boots Project Leaders in Seoni, Madhya Pradesh.
Photo courtesy: Arpit Mishra
The workshop was held at the office of the Chief Conservator of Forest and was attended by the three-member Flying Squad team that is supported by Sanctuary, along with five other snake rescuers from the region. The workshop was organised by the Sanctuary Nature Foundation in collaboration with the Madhya Pradesh Forest Department.
Over the course of the day, Gerry briefed the participants on best animal-handling practices, snake rescue and release protocols, snakebite management, and essential safety measures. He also accompanied the team on a rescue operation and demonstrated his expertise in real time. "It was thrilling to hear of Gerry’s experiences in the field. In just a day's time, we learnt new things, things that no one had ever taught us," said Arpit Mishra, Flying Squad team, Seoni.
Sanctuary's Project Leaders Arpit Mishra, Vivek Mishra and Mukesh Tiwari are forest guards from the Seoni Forest Circle, Madhya Pradesh. Armed with snake hooks, and medical kits, this trio addresses human-snake conflict in the area. Other than rescuing and releasing snakes from human settlements, including 63 cobras in 2015, they educate the public on snakes and snakebite management, while dispelling dangerous myths. “The Flying Squad does incredible work in Seoni. We organised this workshop in order to build capacity within the team and ensure that their techniques and safety protocols are at par with the best in the field. Gerry’s knowledge and experience is unparalleled and our project has benefited from his involvement. We hope to hold more such events in the future,” said Maitreyee Mujumdar, Project Coordinator of the Mud on Boots Project.
Gerry Martin won a Sanctuary Wildlife Service Award in 2011 for his sustained work in the arenas of snakebite management, conservation education and venom research. He currently also works on the Indian Snakebite Initiative, a project of the Global Snakebite Initiative, that aims to revolutionise the production of snake antivenom for use in India. A study conducted in 2011 estimated that 50,000 people die from snakebite in India every year, and the World Health Organisation classifies snakebite in the country as a Neglected Tropical Disease. Though the scale of the problem is immense, it is mostly confined to rural populations and has received little attention. Thus, such work by Gerry and his compatriots is all the more vital.
Learn more about The Gerry Martin Project and the Global Snakebite Initiative. To support the Mud on Boots Project, a program designed to empower grassroots conservationists, write to
Read More: One Million Snakebites