Striving Towards Zero Death from Snake Bites in Sundarbans

18, 25 and 26 November 2023

Our campaign, Zero Death from Snake Bites, has reached the Sundarbans!

Within the forest-fringe communities of this UNESCO World Heritage Site and the world’s largest mangrove forest, misinformation and unawareness about snakes and the treatment of snakebites prevail. Consequently, the Sundarbans report alarming rates of snakebite-related deaths and disabilities. This in turn fuels fear and animosity towards snakes, causing people to persecute them.

To address this issue, we will be conducting a series of workshops targeting various stakeholder groups, such as villagers, faith healers, and village doctors. The goal is to dispel misconceptions around snakes and empower these stakeholders with the knowledge to prevent and treat snake bites.

Initiated last month, the campaign began with three workshops in forest-fringe villages adjacent to the Sundarban Tiger Reserve in Gosaba block. The first session occurred on November 18 in Bali-II, followed by two more on November 25 and 26 in Kumirmari.

Suvrajyoti Chatterjee, Secretary, HEAL imparting information regarding snake identification to participants in Bali-II on 18 November

During these sessions, participants were informed about the venomous and non-venomous species found in the Sundarbans, methods to prevent snake entry into human habitations, and medically accurate protocols for providing first aid to snakebite victims, ensuring their recovery.

Positive responses from participants were consistent across all occasions, with many finding our explanations helpful. Several expressed interest in acquiring further knowledge about snakes and a willingness to assist HEAL in organizing more programs in the future.

Zonal Coordinator, Ardhendu Banik, sharing his insights on snake behaviour with the audience during the awareness program in Kumirmari on 25 November

This campaign is supported by #LivingMyPromise’s Dolphin Tank initiative. We sincerely thank Gunjan Thaney and our promisors Dipal and Mitesh Damania, Upendra Bhat and others.

A participant sharing an anecdote with team HEAL during the program in Kumirmari on 26 November
Partipants, curious about snake identification, at the awareness program in Kumirmari on 26 November