Logos of
Global Snakebite Initiative
Australian Venom Research Unit.

July 7th to September 4th 2013

Papua New Guinea is the eastern half of the second largest island in the world, and the largest island in the tropics. Click here for a brief history of the country.

Having completed Phase VIII of the Timor-Leste Reptile and Amphibian Survey I continued on to Papua New Guinea to work with my colleagues engaged in the PNG Snakebite Project. The purpose of my visit was to spend time in the field with Owen, Jasper, Ben and Julious, Papuan members of the team, catching medically important elapids for venom extraction and antivenom production. This was my 10th visit to PNG, a country where I first conducted fieldwork in 1986. My presence would mean that David Williams could devote more time to snakebite patients at Port Moresby General Hospital and the pending trial for the new ICP Taipan antivenom, whilst still sending a team out into the field.

Being an herpetologist I would not be confining my interests to just venomous snakes, although they were by far and away our priority. I would also be documenting and photographing all other reptiles and amphibians encountered.

Map showing the main roads of Central and Oro (Northern) Provinces, PNG.
click to enlarge map

The team.

David Williams Toxinologist, AVRU, Univ. Melbourne & Charles Campbell Toxinology Centre, Port Moresby General Hospital
Mark O'Shea Herpetologist, Research Fellow, AVRU, Univ. Melbourne & Univ. Wolverhampton
Simon Jensen Consultant Physician, AVRU, Univ. Melbourne & Charles Campbell Toxinology Centre, PMGH
Owen Paiva Lab Manager & Public Officer, Charles Campbell Toxinology Centre, PMGH
Ben Bande Student, Charles Campbell Toxinology Centre, PMGH
Julious Jacobs Student, harles Campbell Toxinology Centre, PMGH
Jasper Gabugabu Snake Room technician, Charles Campbell Toxinology Centre, PMGH

The areas where we conducted fieldwork were the following:

1. National Capital District:
a) Port Moresby

2. Central Province:
a) Hiritano Highway (aka Brown River Road)
b) Edevu (recce)
c) Lea Lea Road
d) Vaihua River (aka Frog Pond)
e) Papa Swamp
f) Edevu (first week)
g) Edevu (second week)
h) Exxon-Mobil LNG

3. Oro Province:
a) Port Moresby to Girua
b) The Ridge
c) Higatura to Girua Road
d) Heropa & Parahe
e) Mamba (first visit)
f) Popondetta
g) Sangara (first visit)
h) Moale & Kasi
i) Kokoda
j) Mamba (second visit)
k) Sangara (second visit)

1. National Capital District:
b) Port Moresby

2. Central Province:
i) Exxon-Mobil LNG
j) Vaihua River (aka Frog Pond)
k) Magi Highway (aka Rigo Road) to Moreguina

Expedition Results - a full life list of herps recorded during the 2013 expedition.

Advice to herpers wishing to visit Papua New Guinea