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Snakes charm guest audience

24 Medi 2010

Dr Rhys Jones and guestsJane Davidson AM, PC Mark Goulding Wildlife crime officer, Dr Rhys Jones, Corporal Andy Sinnott, Professor Adrian Harwood Cardiff School of Biosciences

Environment Minister Jane Davidson was among the guests as the School of Biosciences hosted the launch of a new BBC wildlife documentary.

Rhys to the Rescue follows the working life of Dr Rhys Jones, wildlife expert and Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the School.

Dr Jones, who took his undergraduate degree and his PhD at the School, is one of the few experts who can be called on to rescue endangered species. A normal working day can involve snakes, scorpions and spiders.

Last night’s reception allowed guests to view the first episode in the series as it was broadcast on BBC One Wales. Afterwards, Dr Jones was on hand to answer questions from the audience.

As well as Jane Davidson, Welsh Assembly Government Minister for Environment, Sustainability and Housing, guests included members of police and armed forces, both of whom receive advice from Dr Jones on dealing with dangerous animals.

In the first episode, the audience saw Dr Jones advise Welsh troops about to take a tour of duty on dealing with snake and scorpion bites and stings. He was also called out to track down and remove a colony of adders which was holding up a new housing development. The programme then saw Dr Jones and a colleague microchip the adders to monitor the effects of their relocation.

Dr Jones, who studied parasitology and molecular biology at Cardiff, said: "I was hugely flattered by the turnout to last night’s premiere event at Cardiff and the amount of interest this series is generating is phenomenal. We had 1 in 8 Welsh households tuning in to ‘Rhys to the Rescue’ last night, almost double the most optimistic predicted viewing figures.

"I hope the series offers a platform for people to engage in scientific and environmental issues. There is obviously an appetite for the series and if you enjoyed programme one then believe me, you ain’t seen nothing yet!

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