Expedition Team

John Benjamin Owens

Founder & Director of Captive & Field Herpetology. Master of Zoology (MZool) Bangor University, Wales, UK. Main research interests include Indian snakebite, human-herpetofauna conflict, spatial ecology and phylogenetics. Ben has carried out field work across the globe and now has his efforts focussed on India and the snakebite problem that the country is faced with.

When back in the UK, Ben also managed North West Reptile Encounters, a small business which uses live animals in educational talks and events in an effort to promote conservation and interest in nature.


Vishal Santra

Co-founder and co-director of C&FH expeditions. Vishal is the backbone to our operations in India. Being a member of the IUCN Viper Specialist Group and having extensive experience in organising field work throughout Nepal, Sri Lanka and India, there is no one better to be working alongside during our expeditions.

Back in West Bengal he is the Founder, Executive member, Research & Conservation Head of Simultala Conservationists (Foundation for Wildlife). A group which is striving to eliminate snakebite and create awareness of the issue in West Bengal.


James Hicks

James completed a PhD at the University of Nottingham, scrutinizing oil palm’s effects on Malaysian reptiles and amphibians both in terms of conservation and adaptation. He has spent a considerable time searching for reptiles and amphibians in all manner of habitats from sweltering tropical forests to the parched deserts of the American Southwest. He is an experienced field herpetologist and guide and also demonstrates on field courses to Arizona with Bangor University’s Zoology with Herpetology degree, which he attained before starting his PhD. Back home in Wales, James maintains a specialist collection of rare lizards and enjoys searching for British reptiles in his spare time. James assists with all aspects of our European expeditions.

Our expedition team is fully first aid trained and always on hand to give you any information or help you may need during our expeditions. With C&F Herpetology you will always be in safe hands!

You can contact any of the expedition team via our contact page.