What is ‘I Brake for Rattlesnakes’?
I Brake for Rattlesnakes is a non-profit conservation group with the purpose of supporting public education, research and conservation efforts for rattlesnakes in Alberta, and across Canada. IBFR was created in 2008 by me, Adam Martinson, and has been an ongoing offshoot of my research on prairie rattlesnakes in Alberta. I believe that by increasing conservation awareness and raising funds for continuing research, we can improve the long-term outlook for the species and improve their conservation status in Canada.
Why are we all ‘braking for rattlesnakes’?
Being killed on roads (aka road mortality) has been identified as one of the major threats to prairie rattlesnakes in Alberta (a species already listed as 'may be at risk' and 'data deficient'). This issue is not unique to Alberta, with numerous snake species around the world threatened by road development and increasing traffic volumes. It is estimated that one million vertebrates are killed every day on roads in the USA, and in Australia approximately 5 million frogs and reptiles are killed on roads every year!
But what about all the other snake species that are in need of help?
I have to admit that rattlesnakes have a special place in my heart, but the beauty of sticking up for rattlesnakes is that we are also protecting other species that have similar ecological requirements. The result is positive environmental changes trickling down far beyond the intended purposes. For example, protecting prairie rattlesnakes from threats such as habitat destruction, weak legal protection, and road development will also protect species like bullsnakes, plains garter snakes and wandering garter snakes who also inhabit the Alberta prairies.
Snakes in general have reputations that far exceed their natural behaviour. Farley Mowat said it best about the irrational killing of wolves that "...there is nothing like the whip of fear to lash men into a fury of destruction." Through education I believe that the irrational fear of snakes can be combated with facts about their natural behaviours and the actual risks that they pose to humans (e.g. there has never been a recorded human death from a rattlesnake bite in Alberta). This starts from the ground up, and is why a major component of I Brake for Rattlesnakes is educating people about snakes. If you are interested in having me give a presentation on snakes to your group, fill out the form on the 'Contact' page.
What can I do to help?
First and foremost...BRAKE FOR RATTLESNAKES!!! Assuming that you’re already an avid ‘braker’, purchasing an ‘I brake for Rattlesnakes’ sticker is a great way to support rattlesnake conservation. All the funds that are raised go towards educational programs for the public and for ongoing research initiatives. Money is also used to support my research on prairie rattlesnakes, and to ensure that it is ongoing. Stickers are $7, and to order one fill out the information on the ‘Contact’ page and we’ll get them to you asap. Thanks for your support!