REHOBOTH, Aug 22 – According to Rehoboth resident, Mario Guterres, aka “Beastmaster”, the desire to fully understand the age-old conflict between mankind and nature is what drove him to become a successful and renowned snake charmer/catcher in Rehoboth and the surrounding areas.
His love and passion for this dangerous job was inflicted by his love of nature, Guterres noted during an interview with Namibia Daily Newspaper. His database indicates that he has, up to now, captured a total of 3890 snakes in total, with 310 snakes caught in Rehoboth and surroundings this year alone.
Moreover, he also has frequent encounters with wild animals such as cheetahs, skunks and heart-wolves. “It is my dream and desire to educate people about nature and wildlife and by doing so, clear all misconceptions currently prevailing,” Mario noted. His passion for wildlife and nature started at Matto Grosso, Brazil, before he underwent a four year course in herpetology at the Coimbra Technicon in Portugal.
One of the difficulties he currently experiences in his job is the lack of fast, reliable and effective transport (especially for rural areas), in order to reach any area in the quickest possible time. An off-road motorcycle would be his vehicle of choice.
His foundation is also in need of financial assistance, as well as first aid equipment and complete paramedic kits. Guterres currently finances all this out of his own pocket. Another big need is a reliable GPS system in order for him to easily identify crisis areas, especially in the rural areas. He is currently employed on a voluntary basis as a presenter at Capricorn Radio 96.1 at Rehoboth and furthermore living his dream as a community worker, protecting humans and wildlife.
As for the future, Guterres would like to involve the youth in theoretical as well as practical training in first aid and firefighting. He noted that they have recently completed the successful training of 50 people (youths and unemployed persons) in these fields and some of the trainees have already secured full time employment for themselves. Helping others is what drives this man and the youth, unemployed and disadvantaged community members of Rehoboth have only good things to say about their “Beastmaster”.
His advice to people, regarding encounters with snakes, is to freeze, stay calm and not throw stones at the reptile, as it will eventually go its own way. “Snakes are potentially not dangerous, it is we as humans who are indeed the destroyers of everything around us,” says Guterres.
Guterres was born in Huambo, Angola, and was a refugee at Nova Lisboa since 1975 as a result of the civil war in Angola at that time. He later on fled to Namibia and finished his schooling and studies in South Africa. – Marshallino Beukes