Royjan Taylor

Director of Bio-Ken

    The Black Mamba as a Flagship Species

    Reptile conservation in Africa

    At a time when food security in Africa is stretched to a limit it has never been more necessary to conserve the natural predators of rodents. Venomous snakes are the most effective predators of rats and mice the world has ever known.

    The wild population of Black Mambas are in trouble as are all the venomous snakes in Africa.

    It is simple, we now know that if we don’t take immediate steps to save these snakes, our children will starve. The problem on the ground in Africa is unfortunately compounded by a combination of superstition, irrational fear and corruption.

    Bio-Ken is on a mission to change this. Led by Royjan Taylor, a third generation Kenyan and their initiative “Saving Snakes” Bio-Ken have put in place teams of professional snake handlers, educators and conservationists to come up with practical solutions to some of the problems being faced. These conservation methods have been implemented and are being expanded.

    What is needed now is collaboration with partners, both locally and internationally, to share ideas on possible improvements and identification of new conservation methods. Producing a powerful education campaign is the next step to make a serous positive impact on reptile conservation in Africa. The iconic Black Mamba has a vital role to play in this regard.

    Royjan Taylor is Director of Bio-Ken, a laboratory and research centre that specializes in snakes, based in Watamu, Kenya. Founded in 1980 by the late James Ashe, Bio-Ken is famous for its work with reptile conservation and improving the snakebite situation among the local communities in coastal Kenya.