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Kiwi conservationist Pete Bethune’s condition improves after deadly snake bite

Kiwi conservationist Pete Bethune is on the mend – albeit slowly – after being bitten by one of the deadliest snakes in Central America.

It has been touch-and-go for the 55-year-old, after he was bitten by a Fer De Lance two days ago while working in Costa Rica.

The highly venomous snake is considered to be the most dangerous snake in Costa Rica and Bethune knows how lucky he is to be alive.

“Swelling has gone down a little and definitely in less pain,” he told the Herald today.

“Doctors think I’m on the mend. Sometimes snake bites do get better than worse – so it’s not guaranteed I’m over it.

“But the signs are all positive at the moment.”

Bethune and crew members from his non-profit organisation, Earthrace, was at the Piedras Blancas National Park, in the Punta Encanto section, when the incident happened.

He had just walked past a pile of leaves when he felt a sudden jab to the back of his left leg – and knew straight away he had been bitten by a snake.

A post shared by Captain Pete Bethune (@petebethune)

He and the crew were forced to trek about 2.5km down rough jungle terrain and waterfalls to get to a boat that took them to the mainland for urgent medical treatment.

Within hours, his venom-infected leg had doubled in size and become so swollen, doctors were getting ready to operate if the venom had spread further up past his groin.

He said his condition remained mostly the same throughout the night – until things started to improve this morning.

“The operation to reduce swelling (is) less likely to happen now,” he said.

Bethune said he had also spoken to his adult daughters.

“My girls (were) really upset, as you’d expect.”

He thanked members of the public, in New Zealand and around the world, who had sent him messages of love and support over the last few days.

“I’m super grateful for all their support back home. At times, this is a lonely gig.

“Something like this happens and I realise how much people care about me and my team’s work. A very humbling experience.”

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