Denis: “The reptile park is an area of the reserve where we keep all of our reptiles, mostly snakes.
There are different snake pits, each one for reptiles of the same size and species. We have leopard tortoises, snouted cobras, puff adders, pythons, water monitors and ground monitors.
Snakes are warm-blooded animals, therefore in winter their body metabolism works more slowly and we use specific lamps to provide them with as much heat as possible.
The idea of setting up the reptile park was mainly to protect the animals.
In our culture, unfortunately, people believe that a good snake is a dead one. Some people see snakes as food and some others see them as a threat. At Mokolodi Nature Reserve we try to change this mentality by making students and people around the country aware of snakes, teaching them how to appreciate these creatures and how to live with them.
We have a program through which we communicate with local communities. When people find wounded animals, they know that they need to call us so we can get there as soon as possible and rescue the animals. The wounded animals are nursed back to health and then released into the wild once fully recovered.
Inside the reptile park we have a small sanctuary dedicated to injured birds with broken wings or legs, animals that can’t fly anymore or that aren’t able to survive in the wilderness anymore.
We have vultures, kites and water birds. Some of these animals have been here for more than 10 years.”
Mokolodi Nature Reserve is a charitable organization. We depend mostly on donations by organizations and private donors. It’s thanks to them if we can maintain these structures in good conditions and take care of animals, both feeding them and providing them with medications and expertise.”
Sarah: “I’m from London and I’m at Mokolodi Nature Reserve to work as a volunteer for a few weeks. A friend of mine comes here often to do the game drives and she recommended the reserve to me.
As a volunteer, my job is the keep the park clean and hygienic.
I came here to have an unusual experience, to live and experience a side of Africa that not everyone has the chance to explore, and also to find out what it’s like to be part of the community.
It’s been really interesting to see how much work goes into the reserve. Everything is very different from my life in London. Everyone here is a lot friendlier, there’s a lot more space and even though it’s winter it’s still very hot.”
Watch the whole reportage