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Kuala Lumpur: Her expertise in handling various species of local snakes over the past 15 years has qualified this woman to be the only certified ‘Snake Teacher’ in Malaysia.

Juliawani Johari, 36, who serves as a Senior Wildlife Assistant, Department of Wildlife Protection and National Parks (Perhilitan) is frequently called by various government agencies and departments as well as hospitals to share information related to the venomous animal.

According to him, his ability is the result of his experience since he started working at Perhilitan Kuantan, Pahang starting in 2006 for 11 years before being transferred to Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) in 2017.

“When I started serving in Kuantan, I was often involved in managing wildlife conflicts, especially involving monkeys, elephants, wild boars and snakes.

“From there, I regularly attend courses to strengthen my knowledge on the methods of handling various species of snakes, whether venomous or otherwise, the ‘body language’ of snakes, the nature and type of can,” he said.

He said he participated in at least three courses a year to strengthen his ability, courage and ability to ‘deal’ with snakes.

“There are various species of venomous snakes in the country which are well known including, cobwebs, coral snakes, catfish, ax snakes, ladle snakes and various other species.

“All of this requires specialized knowledge and guidelines to prevent any untoward incidents.

“As a result of the course attended and the experience of being in the field, I was then given the responsibility to teach the new staff of Perhilitan to handle these animals starting in 2010,” he said, who currently serves at the Krau Wildlife Reserve, Temerloh, Pahang.

He said, during his service with Perhilitan, he never faced an anxious situation or was bitten by a snake unless he was bitten by a python and a punti snake while teaching.

“Usually the incident happens when my attention ‘runs away’ for a while as I have to talk to the program participants while handling the snake,” he said.

JULIAWANI at a teaching session related to snake handling.

Have lived for a week with venomous reptiles

“I love all animals but more ‘love’ snakes because of the interest and exposure to them since the age of seven.

“In fact, I used to sleep for a week with a venomous snake,” said the snake player, Ayu Wan Gira Pengiran Jakaria, 29.

He who lives in Kampung Laya Laya, Tuaran, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, said that his interest in snakes started when he was seven years old.

He said his father, Pengiran Jakaria Pengiran Lida, 56, encouraged him to have the courage to play snake and make the reptile a pet.

In fact, he who is friendly with the nickname Manja said, his interest caused him to get the nickname ‘Queen of Snakes’ besides the invitation to hold shows around Sabah to Indonesia.

“One challenge that has been made is living with poisonous snakes for a week in Makassar, Indonesia.

“I admit I was injured many times due to being bitten by a snake, but it did not make me angry or scared with the animal. Instead, I was lazy and considered it as normal for snake players,” he said.

According to him, he was first bitten by a snake as early as 12 years old.

“The incident happened when I wanted to catch a batik python that has not been tamed.

“Previously I used to keep 29 snakes but now there are only six left as the rest is handed over to the authorities,” he said, who has a license to keep snakes.

According to her, her husband, Riswan Rudi Taraweng also understood her interest in snakes, although at an early stage she was a little amused by the animal.

“In fact, my children also dare to play with snakes, especially the eldest child. All these snakes are placed in special containers at home.

“I hope the children will inherit my interest in the future,” he said, who is often called to make shows.

MARINA caught a venomous snake while carrying out the task of handling complaints from residents in Kajang.
MARINA caught a venomous snake while carrying out the task of handling complaints from residents in Kajang.

Already subjected to more than 1,000 snakes

More than 1,000 snakes have been ‘subdued’ by this woman over the past five years. It turns out that his agility and courage in handling this awesome reptile invite a lot of respect.

The single mother of two children, Marina Jamal, 35, who started joining the Civil Defense Force (APM) in October 2017, is one of the main characters often called to solve emergency call cases involving wildlife, especially in Hulu Langat, Semenyih and Bangi districts.

According to him, he only started approaching the reptile animal while undergoing APM training for two weeks in the early stages of involvement with the volunteer team.

“During the two weeks of training, I was exposed to a lot of snake catching techniques, snake species as well as standard operating procedures (SOP) when catching snakes on location.

“At first I was just like other women who were amused by snakes. Only after joining APM, all the nervousness gradually disappeared. Probably because I was faced with this task every day, I finally became lazy and dared to hold the snake,” said the APM Hulu Langat.

He said, almost every day he handles emergency cases involving snakes at the residents’ homes.

“Usually I am called to catch black cobras, buffalo ribs, cobras, pythons and various other species before the animal is transferred to a more suitable habitat.

“The most unforgettable experience is when a black cobra that is caught acts to squirt towards my face. Fortunately, it does not enter my mouth or eyes, otherwise I will be blind,” he said.

According to him, this venomous snake likes to hide in workshops or crowded areas with used items.

“To avoid any untoward incidents, I and other APM members have always complied with the SOP by wearing special gloves, rubber shoes, special goggles and snake catching equipment,

“Usually this task is done with my friend, Siti Fateha Abdullah, 18, who started joining APM two years ago,” he said.

According to Marina, her decision to join APM indirectly triggered the courage to serve the community.

Tak serik was bitten by a cobra

The experience of being bitten by a cobra four years ago once made Senior Fire Officer ll, Nor Fazida Tina Mohamad Noor, 40, phobic with the reptile.

The incident caused a friendly woman called Tina to be detained for 18 hours in the Sungai Buloh Hospital ward for doctor’s monitoring despite only minor injuries without any symptoms or serious injuries.

However, the feeling of fear was only for a moment when Tina returned to work as a team supervisor and snake trainer at the Rawang Fire and Rescue Station.

Telling further, Tina said, the late Abu Zarin Hussin who is also a snake expert and used to work at the Temerloh Fire and Rescue Station, Pahang is an individual who gave him a lot of guidance in handling snakes.

“I have never held a snake before. It only started when I was a firefighter and rescuer.

“It all started after I received a call from the late Abu Zarin informing me that I wanted to create a snake handling course in 2016 and invited me to participate.

“At first I refused to attend the course because I thought it was a risk to my life. However, I agreed after convincing the late (Abu Zarin) who assured his team that the Rescue Hero would help if something undesirable happened,” he said.

According to him, a lot of knowledge was gained during his involvement in the snake handling course for a month, including the character of the reptlia, the species available and how the breeding process.

He said, the experience taught him a lot and helped him to become a coach and then guide new firefighters who follow the course.

“Not everyone has the opportunity to handle snakes. I think the advantage is given as a gift from Allah SWT,” he said.

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Source: utama by www.hmetro.com.my.

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