Extreme cave diver, venomous snake hunter, and one of two to be named 2011 “National Geographic’s Explorers of the Year”, Kenny Broad is no stranger to confronting the improbable and coming out on top.
Picture this: descending into the lightless depths of an underwater cave, one of the Bahama’s many ‘Blue Holes’, where 50 feet below the surface a misty layer of hydrogen sulfide (a toxic gas created by bacterial colonies and decaying organic matter) free floats between you and your scientific pursuit. Experienced divers like Kenny have learned to cope with the toxins that can sometimes cause itching skin, tingling, or dizziness. Received in higher dosages, however, the gas can cause delirium or death. Talk about risking it all for science.
“Underwater caves may just look like dark, eerie holes, but they can be critical reservoirs of clean fresh drinking water and are integral to the health of the surrounding habitats,” Kenny says. “If pollution or climate change threatens that ecosystem, it also threatens local people.”
A strong proponent for equality in resource management, Kenny risks going where few dare to venture and doing what fewer can even fathom. His most current project lands him in Hanoi, Vietnam where Kenny and herpetologist Zoltan Takacs are tracking down some of the world’s most venomous snakes to seek out what potential medical properties their venom may contain.
Hear more about Kenny’s Blue Holes Project, as well as his current project, Kenny and Zoltan’s Venom Quest during this week’s live conversation on the National Geographic Facebook page Monday, April 30 at 2:30pm ET (7:30pm UTC). Post your questions there or in the comments section of this blog post. Then tune in for the live interview and post more questions as the conversation develops.
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