Well, 2015 went out with a slow crash of everything I have going online to provide income. In a way it’s good because it shocks me into doing something bigger. In a way, it’s bad because I was enjoying not having to work for the past eight years – just being on my own schedule without having to worry about money issues. I don’t have any income related to snakes, but I have at times asked for a donation for Snake Identification services and received some.
Everything cycles around… good times, bad times, and that’s OK. I’m ready for 2016.
In 2015 I wasn’t much focused on snakes until the latter part of the year. I herped sporadically in June and July – the best months for finding snakes, and I focused more on other pursuits like getting my foot healthy after a 5th metatarsal stress fracture. Now that’s healed up pretty well and I’m on track for running a 30 mile race through the mountains here in Thailand at the end of 2016.
Over the past eight years I’ve asked myself whether I could make a living doing something with snakes and other reptiles. Being in Thailand is great for the opportunities I have to see and interact with wildlife of all sorts. It isn’t so good for straight- up business opportunities unless well-funded. Which I’m not.
I thought for years about how great it would be to create a sort of wildlife zoo for people to come and experience snakes, lizards, geckos, turtles, and all sorts of other bugs and other things – in a very natural environment – like a large tented biosphere, almost like a butterfly enclosure you see at some parks. I have a lot of ideas about how to make it zoo-like, but not a zoo at all. I don’t believe in having captive animals – but I’ve come up with a way to organize it so we don’t have animals rotting in cages for years until they die.
So, I’ve been thinking about that. That’s a rather long-term goal. Could happen within a year if I met the right people.
I think about bringing groups of Thais and visitors to Thailand to some place like this to see wildlife instead of all we have – dilapidated “King Cobra Snake Shows” where the snakes are tormented day after day for no reason except a couple hundred thousand Thai baht each month going into the pockets of the owners. People attending shows learn next to nothing because the Burmese and Thais giving the shows don’t speak English well enough to communicate in the language. Not to mention a good portion of the information given out is entirely incorrect.
I’ve been looking at selling snake-related products like books, ebooks, tongs, hooks, traps, video training modules for kids wanting to learn more about reptiles and other animals we have all around us here. I’ve considered setting up a non-profit where people could donate tax-free.
I’ve been thinking about sort of going along the same lines as Rom Whitaker in the India Gats. He has setup a program to study king cobras by radio-chipping them, and following them extensively through the forest as they go about doing what they do on a daily basis. He did it without a degree in biology. He just established his little group and started doing it. I think he eventually got grants, and today he charges volunteers for staying there.
Anyway, so I’m thinking about a lot of things – even more than mentioned here, but I’m not fully convinced that getting started with a number of these projects is worthwhile, or sustainable. Few people across the world care at all about reptiles. I’ve looked at Kickstarter and Indiegogo.com – where people can raise funds (crowd-source) for various ideas, causes, animals, etc. There are very few having to do with reptiles at all. Those that have been tried – haven’t received hardly any donations.
The sad fact is that most people don’t really care about snakes all that much – the general population is just too afraid of them. Many people think that snakes are better off dead. Trying to survive by working with reptiles on donations – is going to be rough, if not impossible.
Still, somehow I’d like to make it work. There are those of us that are passionate about doing something to help stop the slaughter of thousands of king cobras being sold to China as dinner, or python and cobra skins for shoes and bags.
There are some really amazing animals in the rainforests of Thailand, but a lot of them are going to go away because locals see them as easy money.
Just yesterday I changed the name of our Facebook page from “Thailand Snakes” to “Thailand Snakes and other Reptiles.” I might start to branch out to cover lizards, geckos, turtles – wildlife people are maybe more likely to care enough about to donate for.
So then, I have a lot of ideas for 2016, but not sure how much will get started. It depends mostly on figuring out some sort of sustainable funding.
If you or someone you know has a real passion about reptiles and you have an idea how I could go about funding some of these ideas, please get in touch with me.
Don’t forget about our June 2016 Thailand Field Trip event – it will creep up on us faster than you think. There are still a few spots open if you’re thinking about joining us. Start HERE to register.
I’m almost finished with another ebook – not entirely sure of the title yet, but it will be something along the lines of, “Is That Snake In Your Yard Deadly?” I got some great photographers to contribute, so it should be a nice resource for anyone living in Thailand. I will send an email out and write a note here when I release it.
OK, have a GREAT NEW YEAR! If you’re up to something with snakes or reptiles in Thailand, or anywhere, feel free to share with me using the CONTACT page.