A Citizen Science Survey of Urban Snakes at the Campus of Universitas Indonesia

Mufti P. Patria, Noer Kholis, A. A.Thasun Amarasinghe, Subekti Widodo, Ayu M. Sundari, Jatna Supriatna, Anom Bowolaksono

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Encounters between snakes and humans are one a common example of animal-human conflict, especially in urban areas. We evaluated the occurrence of snakes in the academic and administration facilities of the Universitas Indonesia (UI) using citizen science through a combination of surveys and public participation. The university premises accommodate a large number of diverse natural habitats within the urban forest ecosystem. Between 2017 and 2019, we gathered data on sightings of snakes within the vicinity of UI. We recorded 53 sightings of snakes representing nine species. The highly venomous Javan Spitting Cobra (Naja sputatrix) was the most sighted snake (36) and was encountered significantly more often than other species. Although the numbers were too small for significance testing, there was a reduction from six to zero snakes killed despite a nonsignificant increase in sightings after initiation of our awareness campaign in conjunction with our citizen science program in relocating snakes. Sightings were greater in the rainy season of November to April compared with the dry season of May to October (44 and nine, respectively), and the number of sightings have a low positive correlation with precipitation. Based on the sighting data, we identified three Snake Vigilance Zones. Our research supports the use of participatory monitoring (citizen science) for research and conservation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)433-441
Number of pages9
JournalHerpetological Conservation and Biology
Volume17
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2022

Keywords

  • conservation
  • killing snakes
  • public awareness
  • suburbs
  • urban forests

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