On Friday the 17th of October 66 children from the Segakwana Primary school where hosted in Pilanesberg by the North West Parks and Tourism Board.
The aim of these excursions is to expose the local community to the Park and at the same time to try and instill the importance of Nature and Conservation.
I was approached by Sarah Maoka the Community Officer for the Pilanesberg National Park to do a talk to the children on Wildlife awareness focusing on Reptiles.
Now having done more Reptile Presentations than I can recollect I am always amazed at the fact that children in general are not scared of snakes which proves the point that the fear of snakes is learnt and not natural.
There are many beliefs attached to snakes and most of them are negative but the aim of my presentations is to explain to people how everything in nature is important and has a role to play and therefore needs to be protected.
People living around the park often come into contact with snakes and many are unaware of how to react in this situation.
I am constantly being called out to houses to remove “problem” snakes and then relocate them in the park.
Word has spread far and wide and during the summer I can often have up to 7 call outs a day.
Children are a lot easier to talk to with regards to snakes as they do not have 20 or so years of entrenched fear to overcome like their parents.
At the end of the presentation the highlight is the opportunity of the children to touch and hold a young Burmese Python. For almost all this is a first and the amazement is evident when they feel that the snake is in fact not wet and slimy but dry and smooth.
We have planned many more of these interactions and hope to involve all the schools surrounding the Park.
Pilanesberg Wildlife Trust.