Ms. Ong and Mr. Tamayo with Dr. Joane Serrano, Chair of the DRRM Committee (L) and Ms. Victoria Canape-Belegal, Chief AO of CDMO (R).

The University of the Philippines Open University (UPOU), through its committee on Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) and the Campus Development and Maintenance Office (CDMO), conducted a training on the proper handling of snakes and other venomous animals on 15 February 2024 at 10:00 AM in the CCDL Building. Ms. Jazz Ong was invited as a Resource Speaker through the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity in her capacity as a Knowledge Management Associate. Her training partner, Mr. Kyle Tamayo, was also present at the workshop. The training workshop equipped participants with the necessary knowledge and skills to handle snakes in various professional settings.

The Faculty of Management and Development Studies (FMDS) initiated the workshop due to the recent sightings of cobras and pythons at the FMDS Perma G.A.R.D.E.N. The training was intended primarily for UPOU’s ground maintenance and housekeeping team, who are highly susceptible to snake bites. The workshop aims to educate them and the rest of UPOU faculty and staff on the importance of adequately handling snakes instead of killing them. A total of 64 participants attended the workshop – CDMO ground maintenance and housekeeping team, DRRM Committee Safety Wardens, Faculty Administrative Officers, and UPOU employees/staff.

During the workshop, Ms. Ong and Mr. Tamayo discussed the different snake species in the Philippines, especially within the Los Baños area. They also explained the anatomy of snakes to help the staff understand how to handle them properly. The safe handling techniques of venomous and non-venomous snakes were also demonstrated. Afterward, first aid and emergency procedures were discussed.

Ms. Ong is a herpetologist and wildlife conservationist who formed the Wildlife Matters television program and founded the Associated Wildlife Organization. Currently, she is in charge of the King Cobra Initiative, which conducts research, education, snake identification, bite management, and training for human-wildlife mitigation in the country.

On her side is Mr. Tamayo, a professional snake handler and reptile behaviorist with over 15 years of expertise in venomous and non-venomous snakes. He co-created the Wildlife Matters Snake programs with Jazz, and they have taught over 200 students how to manage snakes.

As part of its continuous commitment to sustainability and safety, UPOU keeps offering vital training to ensure the safety of UPOU’s personnel and promote wildlife conservation. Through these targeted seminars, UPOU, as a university, fosters an environment that supports the coexistence of humans and wildlife, establishing an admirable standard for environmental responsibility in the academe.

Written by Zyrene Villanueva  ♦ Edited by Myra C. Almodiel and Anna Cañas-Llamas 

Sustainable Development Goals

#UPOpenUniversity

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