Staged photography using snakes, one fined

One of the persons in the group holding a snake for others to photograph it at Krishnampathy tank in the city on Monday.  

The Forest Department on Tuesday imposed fine of ₹8,000 on a man who handled snakes, which he had rescued, for a group of people for photo opportunity without informing authorities.

The action was taken after Ranjith, who has been doing snake rescues in Coimbatore, was found handling snakes for a group of people including photographers on the banks of Krishnampathy tank here on Monday.

An independent researcher who went to the tank for birding on Monday evening spotted the group with at least two species of snakes – suspected to be green vine snake and trinket snake.

The researcher took a video of their activity. Ranjith handled two snakes with bare hands carelessly while others in the group photographed them.

“The group was at the tank bund before I reached the place at 5.10 p.m. The whole incident seemed like a staged photography. Taking photograph of snakes in natural environment is not an issue, but catching them from somewhere and doing staged photography is against nature and ethics of the wildlife photography,” said the researcher who did not want to be named.

According to him, the group was sitting close to the breeding area of water birds at the tank. They were also handling the snakes for more than 30 minutes and causing disturbances to the breeding water birds in the area, he added.

Video and photos of the incident were taken to the attention of the Forest Department late on Monday.

T.K. Ashok Kumar, District Forest Officer, Coimbatore Forest Division, called the eight-member group to his office on Tuesday. He said that Ranjith was fined as he failed to inform the Department about the rescue of the snakes and for handling them for photo opportunity.

A letter of apology was collected from the seven others, he said.

As per the standard practice, trained snake rescuers have been advised by the Forest Department to inform them before rescuing and after releasing the snakes in a suitable habitat.

“For record, we take a video at the time of rescue and at the time of release. The rescue and release should be done with the advice of the Forest Department. We take them to the respective forest range office from where they are taken for release. Ideally, the release should be done at the earliest after the rescue,” said a snake rescuer who has been assisting the Forest Department in Coimbatore for several years.

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Printable version | Oct 26, 2021 2:59:21 AM |

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