The people of the Japanese islands of Okinawa -- the site for next month's Ocean Expo '75 -- are fighting a long drawn-out battle with their most persistent enemy -- highly venomous snakes.
CU ZOOM OUT TO GV Snake farm
SV People watching mongoose & snakes in glass cage
CU Mongoose attacking snake
CU People watching
CU Headlines snake
CU Snakes in farm (4 shots)
SV Taka Kamaya (researcher), pulling snake from cage and walking to table
CU Kamaya extracting venom from snake (4 shots)
SV Venom being placed in centrifuge
CU Venom being quick-frozen and placed in glass for storage (2 shots)
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Background: The people of the Japanese islands of Okinawa -- the site for next month's Ocean Expo '75 -- are fighting a long drawn-out battle with their most persistent enemy -- highly venomous snakes.
The snakes, known as Habu, are among the most poisonous and aggressive in the world. Each year, the Habu clam more than 500 casualties, with an average of three fatalities and many others seriously paralysed or crippled.
The huge population of Habu has held back developments on the islands for many years.
Only recently, a team of Habu experts led by Taka Kamaya -- who has been dealing with the snakes for the past 15 years -- spent months trying to clear the Expo '75 site before wary construction workers moved in.
The Japanese Government is taking an increasing interest in ways to combat the Habu menace, following efforts to boost Okinawa's economy by prompting labour-intensive industry.
One of the traditional weapons in the fight are Indian mongooses. The Japanese brought them to the islands to set loose in the jungles to do battle with the Habu, over 60 years ago. But although they are better fighters, the mongooses seem to have lost the battle in the long run.
Japan is now looking towards more scientific methods for a solution. It is now spending up to 20,000 US dollars (nearly GBP9,000 pounds sterling) a year on research at the Okinawa Venom Research Centre in the island's capital Naha.
The centre has a constant supply of 400 snakes--150 of them bred there and the rest caught by villagers who are paid $3.50 US dollars (nearly GBP1.50 pounds sterling) for each snake.