Sunday, January 26, 2020

Re: The Fer de Lance

THE EDITOR
There are those who are hellbent on the preservation of that deadly snake—the FER-DE-LANCE.
That venomous viper is not indigenous to St. Lucia, it was imported into the island by plantation owners who wanted to deter their slaves from escaping and seeking shelter in
the forest.

In time the snake population grew at an alarming rate and they were forced to use drastic
measures. One such measure was the importation of another pest— the mongoose.

The mongoose and the snake are deadly enemies and will engage in mortal combat on sight. That worked for a while till the mongoose discovered something a lot
less deadly and a lot more succulent— the farmer’s chickens.

As a result, the snake population started to grow once more. It grew at such an alarming rate that the government of the day was forced to take drastic action. A bounty was declared on the snake, monies were allocated to police stations around the island to pay
farmers for every snake head they brought in.

A popular police sergeant lost his job when he was discovered stealing the snake head money. He also lost another job when he was drummed out– pun fully intended–
as the drum major for the police band.

The time has come to get rid of this deadly scourge on the lives of hard-working farmers.
To all the free-thinking innovators, think of what you can do with snake skin— purses, boots cell phone covers, to name but a few.

Restaurants could put snake items on their menu like snake soup, snake steak. Any one.
The time has come to get rid of one of the last vestiges of slavery.
To paraphrase the Walcott brothers, ‘MASSA DAY DONE’.

A voice from the past,
Pancho Pablo Maguez

23 COMMENTS

  1. first, we all have to agree it’s an introduced deadly snake and second, we especially need to have the national trust realize it would be best to focus their good efforts more on non-deadly indigenous species. they seem to be working under the illusion that time makes introduced species (like the fer-de-lance, boa constrictor and mongoose) indigenous.

  2. Wow I hope that those who are in the position to exact this policy is paying attention because you are so right it is high time that we do away with those things that were put in place to hurt us and our children i saw a video someone posted last year taken somewhere near Mon Repos of a boa constrictor the gerth on it was about 22 inches now think for an instance what this reptile feeds on a snake this size can Swallow an adult human and they are here talking about preservation wait until it does something terrible to one of their families and it will be open season on them but why should we wait when we already know what they are capable of.

  3. Ironic. We have vipers in various positions of power here. Do you think they would destroy their own. There is no political will whether green, yellow or red to enact any meaningful change here. They like things as they are as it a perfect vehicle to serve their interests.

  4. This was actually printed on an online news! who ever wrote this is a raving lunatic that ought to be taken to Golden Hope together with his companions on here. fact is the snake is part of nature just like you and me, and every other creature on earth. who are you to want to exterminate it? this is stupid white man mentality that have destroyed many creatures of the earth in places like australia and caused living things to go extinct! this madness should never have been published. this person is insane and incapable of a logical thought inside his head.

    • tamedisbeast you are a Jackass for uttering such nonsense.no you insolent fool
      the white man mentality is how it got introduced to the region in the first place.and secondly any species that is introduced to a region where it was not meant to be wreaks havoc on the eco system and the indigenous species so before you open your horrid trap do some research and educate yourself

  5. The author of this article on our fer-de-lance is a fake news monger since our fer-de-lance is endemic to Saint Lucia and was not brought here by plantation owners. I am surprised that St. Lucia Times published this horrendous piece of misinformation.

  6. This article contains mainly fables passed down to our generation, which are not historically factual. The fact that Saint Lucia’s fer-de-lance is endemic – the only place it is found in the world -means it was not introduced to Saint Lucia. Such an article should not be shared as news, nor as an opinion column since the facts are completely wrong.

  7. The myth that the snake was introduced to stop slaves running away is just that – a myth. Like other reptiles in the Caribbean there are Fer de Lance subspecies indigenous to different islands, and the one found on St. Lucia, Bothrops Caribbaeus (also known as the St. Lucia Lancehead, an anglicised translation of Fer de Lance) is not only indigenous to St. Lucia, but outside of specimens held in captivity (https://www.wymt.com/content/news/Kentucky-Reptile-Zoo-breeds-rare-island-viper-390973861.html), is unique only found on this island. Please do your research before writing such misinformation. The same goes to the editors of the St. Lucia Times – fact check before publishing erroneous articles.

    • with all of your educated research you failed to research Africa and that fer de lance that you say is indigenous to St Lucia
      that’s an outrageous lie because Steve Irwin took this exact species out of Africa to introduce to Australia.this snake was taken out of Africa and introduced to the Islands.and you talk about deviations in the species and that comes from cross breeding the myth you talk about can substantiated by the history books written by those who did it or maybe you’ve never heard of a history book just saying

  8. Every statement in this article is completely untrue.

    The fer de lance is endemic and not introduced. Do you think the African slave would really be afraid to run for freedom as a result of fer de lance? Africa has many more snakes that are many times more deadly than the fer de lance. Do you think they would refrain from running for their lives just because of a fer de lance? This article is utter nonsense.

    We need now to educate the public about the fer de lance. We need to instruct people on how to prevent a snake bite and the things to do to survive a snake bite should in case one gets bitten.

    Half the battle is won if folks learn about the fer de lance and understand the nature of the animal

    If perhaps the venom of our fer de lance contains a substance in it the can be used to cure cancer and other debilitating diseases, would you still want it annihilated? Well there has been preliminary research showing that the venom of the fer de lance is effective in treating hypertension, congestive heart disease, blood clots and certain types of cancers. However, further research is needed to verify those claims. Until then it would be remiss of us to wipe out the species before verifying those claims by conducting the research.
    Another, important point that needs to be highlighted is the fact that to date the fer de lance is not protected by law.

    The Forestry Division has recommended a “no kill policy” for the fer de lance within it’s natural habitat inside the Forest reserve.

    So be guided accordingly before making those asinine statements

  9. The greatest MYTH: The mongoose and the snake are deadly enemies and will engage in mortal combat on sight.
    They have to be in a confined area, like a cage, mainly created by man for his sick entertainment. The two animals are then provoked in the exceedingly close quarters to fight. Otherwise the Mongoose and the snake do not bother each other in the wild.
    I do agree however to rid the country of both snakes, rats and mongoose as they are pests to the local indigenous wildlife. They were both imported to these islands through sheer stupidity.

  10. ….remember the Amerindians used the snake as a weapon by placing it in a bamboo,spinning it around and directing it at the target before opening one end. The point is,those snakes where already here before the Europeans. I don’t know why we keep borrowing other islands history like the the Columbus story.
    I think we should start with the mongoose which was introduced to the island and now our bird numbers are going down,non venomous snakes are going extinct if they aren’t all gone already like the cribo,the St.Lucia Racer/quwese was lucky to be on Maria Island……and by the way,the St.Lucia Lancehead is not protected to my knowledge.

    • Yes fool from the south americas the amazon which is infested with all soughts of reptiles,they too sailed out through the west in dugged out tree canoes and offcourse i’m betting they brought their culture and beliefs with them which were carried simply in their flat heads.

  11. Whether the snake is endemic or not,THE WRITERS CONCERNS SHOULD NOT BE OVERLOOKED………………………. For YEARS we’ve been hearing about the potential uses on the snake venom and to this day NOTHING. In the meantime OUR people are being hurt and farmers are suffering. It’s time to look at the economical value of the snake meat and skin. Much less research is needed for that! (An Italian made shoe from a snake found only on the island of St. Lucia)……………Plus, it’s better than killing them and leaving them to rot………….But as usual, conservationist will fight everything and listen to no one but themselves.

      • Both you and malaway are part of the ignoramuses that should not breed. I think we ought to be concerned about perpetuating your species. We cant have this kind of ignorance infecting our gene pool here in St. Lucia. we have enough problems with the baby mamas and no-papas already. we dont need to add “assassins of nature” to the mix and let them run amok on a thread like this available to thousands of readers.

  12. The writer should do research before he regurgitates nonsense. the snake venom can be use to treat cancer and various other ailments. The snake was not brought by the white slave owners it was already here and Columbus did not discover St.Lucia either just in case you believed that lie also when he met our ancestors here already. St Lucia times should not even publish an article with so much misinformation you should do your research also.

    • I guess u’re mostly carib or arawak when speaking about your ancestors cuz if your ancestors which is black they were sure brought to the west by those slave traders on the slave ships tied up in chains and shackles and also alot of the fruitful vegetation were brought along to feed the multitude..the breadfruit were brought in the region by captain Bligh the mangoes from india and Africa…u’re right on columbus meeting people there but it was not our African ancestors which were definitely brought here during the english,french,spanish,portugese and dutch mercenaries days

  13. Yes it was brought by slave owners,the french brought in the snakes while the english brought in the mongoose over from india….you speak bright but definitely not cuz u pushing up an argument without facts.

  14. @DX how cud you be so brave and stupid at the same time?you do have google at your disposal and you’re still so arrogant and ignorant..it clearly says that the fer-de-lance is all over tropical America and Asia.you’re so stuck into brainwash education.

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