Jose Pedro Cairos Correa is the Deputy Head Keeper of the Herpetology department. Together with his peers, the department takes care of all the reptiles and amphibians – from general husbandry, enrichment to guest engagement opportunities.
Jose is privileged to be working directly in helping to save animal species and their habitats. He believes all animal species have an important role to play in the ecosystem, which is why zoos and other conservation organisations are so important, as they help to save species.
Jose was involved in the Roti Island Snake-necked turtles conservation project – an experience that was mixed with excitement and sadness for him. While it was great for him to see the habitat of a species functionally extinct in the wild, it was disappointing not to have seen any turtles there. Jose hopes that safe areas can be identified in the natural habitat of this endangered species so that these captive-bred animals from assurance colonies like the one we have at WRS can be brought back into the wild.
One of the rarest reptiles in the world, only two or three populations of the Roti Island turtle remain. Apart from being an extremely desirable collectible, this turtle is also hunted for its supposed medicinal value, its meat and even its eggs – by humans and feral pigs.
While Singapore is predominantly urban, the reticulated python – the world’s longest snake – is frequently encountered in the island. A study tracking their movements will help clarify their role in the control of urban pests, particularly rats, and in the prevention of the spread of diseases.