The endangered Lanceheads of Martinique

Martinique Lancehead, Bothrops lanceolatus.

Photo credit Nathalie Dewynter

In a new paper, Gros-Désormeaux et al. discuss the impact of humans on the Martinique Lancehead, Bothrops lanceolatus. The lancehead is the only poisonous snake endemic to Martinique, Lesser Antilles arc. Today, this snake is on the verge of extinction. The recorded number of snakes killed yearly between 1970 and 2002 decreased by 97%. Despite the production of an antivenom in 1993, the local authorities set up a financial reward to encourage the eradication of lancehead snakes. Today the local population still perceives the snake as a threat, due to its fatal venom and its fierce behaviour. The case study of the lancehead in Martinique highlights the need to develop integrated strategies to conserve poisonous snakes on densely populated islands. This requires innovative, cross-sectoral strategies that involve decision-makers working along with multi-disciplinary scientists. Approaching the complexity of ecosystems through the socio-ecological prism implies, conversely, linking up the domains of science and technology, life and environmental sciences, and human and social sciences, through interactions based on sharing common assumptions

Gros-Désormeaux JR, Lagabrielle E, Lesales T, Exilie I, Tupiassu L, Béchacq D. Living with or Eradicating Poisonous Snakes in Densely Populated Caribbean Islands—A Socio-Ecological Challenge for the French West Indies. Open Journal of Animal Sciences. 2017 Sep 4;7(04):405.

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