National Geographic’s brand new show, Snakes SOS: Goa’s Wildest, is finally here!
This brand new snake rescue show, featuring Goa-based wildlife enthusiast couple Louise Remedios and Benhail Antao, premieres on January 10
They’re creepy, crawly and feared by some, but loved and worshipped by others. Snakes divide the world into two neat groups — lovers and haters; and Goa-based wildlife enthusiast couple Louise Remedios and Benhail Antao count themselves proudly among the former. Known interestingly as ‘snake rescuers’ (instead of catchers and the now obsolete, charmers), the couple is well-known in India’s Beach State for their efforts at rescuing and rehabilitating wildlife — with a special focus on snakes.
A brand new show that premiers on January 10 on the National Geographic Channel — Snakes SOS: Goa’s Wildest — will take viewers on an awe-inspiring journey into the wild showcasing the couple in action, giving one an up-close and personal experience of their techniques and contributions in rescuing Goa’s most-deadliest snakes and other wild animals.
Louise otherwise runs a wedding planning company in Goa and is a second-generation wedding planner, while Benhail is an honorary wildlife warden and works closely with Goa’s Forest Department. Born and raised in Goa and trained as a mechanical engineer, Benhail uses his skills to produce the large-scale weddings his wife plans, but once that is done, they live and breathe to rescue wild animals. From cobras and crocodiles, to leopards and scorpions; and everything in between — they’ve rescued them all and the new show follows them on some of their most exciting rescue escapades, yet.
“There’s been such a shift in the way we look at our interactions with wildlife these days and I am thankful for that. I want us to be known as wildlife educators and not just as rescuers. I want every interaction we have to be one of education. The only thing that requires rescuing is people from their misinformation and outdated ideas regarding snakes and other wildlife,” begins Benhail as we catch up with the couple to find out more about the show.
“When I first began dating Ben and told people about what he does, I was often asked if he was a snake charmer. We’ve come a long way from there and now that we’re married and go on these rescue missions together, I’ve realised that what people need to know first is that the snake isn’t the danger; you are the danger to the snake. All it wants is to get away from you safely. We hope our interaction with these beautiful creatures, filmed for the show, builds that understanding and empathy in viewers,” adds Louise.
The show, which will be aired every Monday and Tuesday at 8 pm will focus on rescue missions that the couple take on together and as Benhail explains, “it’s time we work together to remove these negative associations and myths we have with snakes and other wildlife and the show hopes to do just that.”
But is there an actual change in the way people perceive snakes and other wildlife in a place like Goa in 2022? “Yes, there is. We’ve seen a big shift. Instead of trying to kill the animal, people now reach out to the forest department and people like us and we’re able to reach the location before any harm is done to the creature. We’re also at a point where we can actually ask people to send us pictures of the animal and explain how it could be beneficial to have an animal like that around. People are aiding these rescues out of their own passion and compassion and that’s a great shift,” Benhail concludes.
Benhail Antao’s five things to do when you encounter a wild animal in distress:
1. First make sure that the animal is just passing through or in distress.
2. Stay as far away from it as you possibly can.
3. Observe if it is injured and note its behaviours.
4. Call an expert/rescuer and share with them all the information you have.
5. Try and limit its movement if it’s injured, try and contain it, but from a safe distance.