POWELL COUNTY, Ky. (WKYT) - Kristen Wiley and Jim Harrison from the Kentucky Reptile Zoo are known for traveling across the U.S. and even out of the country to educate communities on reptiles, but this week, Saurabh Ray came from India on behalf of his company, Monosha Biotech, to learn the particular methods Wiley and Harrison use that makes their operation special.
"Provide venom for research purposes and medical use, in a way that's humane and sustainable to the animals, that's been a big belief of our founder Jim Harrison," said Wiley.
The reason for Ray's visit from India is because their country is known to have one of the highest rates of snake bite deaths and injuries, according to the World Health Organization, and he's looking to change that.
"One is the main goals of Monosha Biotech is to integrate the traditional snake charmer's knowledge with modern scientific expertise and to save lives by harnessing the medicinal goodness of snake venom." Ray said.
And on top of learning how to humanely extract venom from snakes, Ray is also learning how the Kentucky Reptile Zoo is able to keep its roughly 1,600 snakes stress free and safe.
"Keeping a large number of animals has a lot of the same concerns no matter what kind of animal it is, whether you're keeping a large number of chickens or a large number of snakes, there's still things like disease control that you have to think about," Wiley said.
Along with snakes, Wiley says they also extract venom from lizards and other reptiles to help in their cause.