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'I've looked death in the eye' - Kiwi conservationist out of Costa Rica hospital after poisonous snake bite

Kiwi conservationist Pete Bethune is out of hospital, after nearly two weeks recuperating from a venomous snake bite to his leg in Costa Rica.

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The Kiwi conservationist says he’s still facing ongoing health issues. Source: 1 NEWS

The Earthrace Conservation founder and former Sea Shepherd captain was on a patrolling mission in the jungle of Corcovado National Park when a fer-de-lance snake – one of the most deadly snakes in Central America – bit him. 

Today, Bethune showed 1 NEWS his leg – which is still slightly red and swollen – and a beaming smile.

“I’m so happy to be back ... My smile has been a mile wide for the past couple of hours,” the 55-year-old said, already back on a boat. 

Bethune said his thigh was back to normal, but his calf “is quite deformed now”.

“It’s almost like I’ve got this baby hanging out the side of it.”

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Kiwi conservationist Pete Bethune expected to walk out of Costa Rica hospital after bite from deadly snake

He said he didn’t have a completely clean bill of health yet. He was expecting to have to use a catheter for the next week.

But, Bethune was happy to be alive.

“It will be months before it really transpires what permanent damage [there is] in the leg. 

“But, I’m OK with that. I’ve looked death in the eye, mate, and I’m so happy to be out of hospital.”

For now, he said his leg was functional and he was able to walk and hobble around. 

Bethune said he's started training his leg to get his strength and flexibility back. 

He said he and his team would continue their work in Costa Rica trying to stop wildlife poaching, illegal mining and illegal logging.

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His condition is improving after being bitten by one of Central America’s most dangerous snakes. Source: 1 NEWS

The activist has been injured overseas in the past. In 2017, he was stabbed in Brazil while working on conservation issues, which included chasing wildlife smugglers inthe Amazon. 

Ten days after getting stabbed, he was back in New Zealand delivering a TEDx talk in Auckland, urging people to “find a cause worth dying for”.