Dana Savorelli is the visionary behind Midwest Tongs, the industry leader and largest reptile handling equipment manufacturing company in the world. Midwest Tongs is the culmination of over 40 years of experience and first-hand research in the creation of safe and humane ways to work with animals. Dana is a recognized expert in the humane handling of animals in captivity and the wild. His early childhood interest and close interaction with snakes and exotic animals was the starting point in identifying the need to maintain safety for himself and the animals with whom he came in contact. Hearing others express a need for such tools led him to start the first of several businesses that were specifically related to the safe handling of animals, including his largest company, Midwest Tongs, Inc. Today, Midwest Tong’s animal handling equipment can literally be found all over the world in the hands of both professionals and hobbyists alike. Midwest Tongs are even found in industrial or commercial settings where safety in reaching and lifting are paramount.
Dana founded Monkey Island Rescue and Sanctuary as a place of rescue for unwanted and abandoned exotic animals. Without his intervention, many of these beautiful animals would have died from neglect or euthanasia. Each day, Monkey Island Rescue and Sanctuary cares for over 250 animals with food, shelter, medical care and enrichment. The animals vary from apes and monkeys to cobras and sloths. Each species has special diet and habitat requirements along with around the round the clock monitoring of their health and welfare. Monkey Island Rescue and Sanctuary is a federally recognized 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation, care and housing of unwanted and abandoned exotic animals. Additionally, MIRAS is licensed by the United States Department of Agriculture as a requirement for some of the species in their care. MIRAS was founded by Dana Savorelli, who operates as its director. MIRAS is located in Greenwood, Missouri. The facilities are not open to the public, however the organization operates a very active Facebook page where people can see their work, learn more about the animals, ask questions and donate to support the organization.
Dana Savorelli and snake expert Roy Malleappah developed and funded the US Snakebite Research Team’s fact-finding tour to Sri Lanka and India in January 2006. This group of ten people put together as a humanitarian venture, included Dana, Roy, Chris Harper, a camera crew and reporter, a doctor and other snake specialists. The team visited hospitals to interview snakebite patients and medical staff to see how snakebites are treated, trekked into the jungle, and met with staff at a local university. They spoke with everyone who could help in coming up with a better antivenom. Their vision was to share knowledge and gain insight into the best way to treat snakebites and lower the mortality rate.
While in Sri Lanka, Dana and Roy were invited to visit disabled soldiers of the “Commando Regiment” of the Sri Lanka Army. Who had been injured in action and were missing one or both legs below the knee. After talking with the soldiers, a meeting was arranged with a local company that manufactures prosthetic limbs, taking some of the soldiers along to be fitted and receive new legs. Before leaving, a system was set up to facilitate future prosthetic limb purchases directly from the manufacturing company.
As a direct result of the visit to Sri Lanka, Animal Venom Research International was started to bring knowledge and expertise together to lower snakebite mortality in Sri Lanka and surrounding areas. This international collaborative effort researched and developed a geographic and species-specific snake antivenom for Sri Lanka that was proven effective through clinical trials and has resulted in the production of a much-needed remedy for venomous snakebite that will save countless lives.
Dana was chosen to oversee the marketing and distribution of a newly patented product, Venom LOCC, a Localizing Circumferential Compression device used to delay the onset of systemic illness from snakebite and give victims more time to reach medical care. The creator of Venom LOCC specifically sought out Dana for this role based upon his years as an expert in the field of bringing specialized products to market quickly and under highly stringent quality standards. This product is groundbreaking in its approach to the treatment of venomous bites and has the potential to save countless lives around the world.
For five seasons, Midwest Tongs has sponsored the closed-captioning for the award-winning educational television series, Scaly Adventures, thus ensuring that hearing-impaired viewers around the world are able to view the show in its entirety. Dana has also provided material support for the show by donating equipment to be given to law enforcement, first responders and even civilians at various Scaly Adventures events in an effort to promote the education of the public in the safe handling of animals. Midwest Tongs is also the sole provider of animal handling equipment for the show, as selected by the cast.
Dana and his non-profit organization, Monkey Island Rescue have been featured in three episodes of Scaly Adventures. He and/or his animals have appeared in the episodes “Gibbon ‘Em A Home”, “Mo Adventures In The Midwest” and most recently “Eyes on the Road, Baby”. He has served as a consultant on several episodes of the show where his expert insight into exotic animal handling, habitats and behavior have been called upon to ensure the highest level of educational accuracy for the topic presented.