Tour Ref 2705
Bio-Ken milks snakes for medical research and for the preparation of anti-venom. It provides anti-venom to treat victims of poisonous snake-bite and, with the help of the James Ashe Antivenom Trust (JAAT), it provides it free of charge to those unable to afford it.
Bio-Ken also offers a free ‘remove-a-snake’ service for people in Watamu and the surrounding area. Any snakes removed from a property and relocated in to the wild or brought back to the farm for study, depending on the species.
There is a wide range of venomous and non-venomous snakes at the farm. Visitors are welcome to look around the farm in the hope that they will become more familiar with snakes.
Bio-Ken holds biannual snake-bite seminars which are attended by experts from all over the world. Bio-Ken is promoting an educational scheme to teach people the correct procedures when faced with a snake-bite, the importance of snakes and why they should not necessarily be killed on sight.
Bio-Ken hosts regular informative snake shows for tourists at nearby hotels. They also organize different snake safaris for the more interested, to show some of Kenya’s snakes and reptiles in their natural habitat.
Who runs Bio-Ken?
Bio-Ken was founded by the late James Ashe and his wife Sanda. James was appointed Curator of Herpetology at the National Museum of Kenya in Nairobi in 1964. He later left Kenya and returned in 1980 to set up Bio-Ken. James wrote many scientific papers on snakes and identified and named the first Mt. Kenya Bush Viper, Atheris desaixi, in 1967. He co-wrote many reference books on reptiles including the excellent A Field Guide to the Reptiles of East Africa.
Sanda Ashe started with snakes as a child growing up in Tanzania and has worked professionally with wildlife ever since. She has written many essential leaflets and manuals on the correct treatment of snakebite. Her real love, however, is still the rehabilitation of injured wild animals and birds.
Royjan Taylor is another snake-man who worked with James on and off for many years. His knowledge of the snakes of Kenya is second to none. Together Royjan and Sanda hope to increase awareness and promote the conservation of snakes. Royjan is a Certified ‘Silver’ Professional Safari Guide (KPSGA) and is in the process of writing a detailed ‘Guide to the Snakes of Kenya