Mark O’Shea, DSc. h.c., is an herpetologist who has held the position of Consultant Curator at West Midland Safari Park, United Kingdom, for 30 years. He gained his BSc. in 1985, from the Polytechnic, now University of Wolverhampton, and in 2001 he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Sciences degree, for his “contributions to herpetology”, by the same University. He now teaches on the BSc Animal Behaviour and Wildlife Conservation course. In 2000 he received the Millennium Award for Services to Exploration (Zoology), from the British Chapter of the Explorers’ Club of New York. Although he has conducted fieldwork through the world’s tropics, he has a specialist interest in the herpetofauna, particularly the snakes, of New Guinea and eastern Indonesia. He wrote A Guide to the Snakes of Papua New Guinea (1996) and is currently writing a much-expanded second edition, and he has worked extensively throughout PNG, initially for Operation Raleigh, then Oxford University’s Department of Clinical Medicine and the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, and during this century for the Australian Venom Research Unit, University of Melbourne. He has also co-led, with Prof Hinrich Kaiser, the first comprehensive herpetological survey of Timor-Leste, Asia’s newest country, with ten phases completed and seventy species of amphibian and reptile documented, over twenty of them new. He has a particular interest in fossorial and semi-fossorial snakes such as the New Guinea elapid genus Toxicocalamus. He has also been heavily involved in television, filming four seasons of the critically acclaimed O’Shea’s Big Adventure for Animal Planet-Discovery. He is the author of five books with two more in preparation.
Amphibian and Reptile Art in Miniature: Adventures in Herpeto-philately