Visakhapatnam

Save snakes, nature needs them too

An activist displaying a python at an awareness workshop on snakes in Visakhapatnam on Sunday. Photo: K.R. Deepak

An activist displaying a python at an awareness workshop on snakes in Visakhapatnam on Sunday. Photo: K.R. Deepak   | Photo Credit: K_R_DEEPAK

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What would you do if you have a sudden encounter with a snake? Are all snakes poisonous? What is the ecological importance of snakes?

In times of eroding habitat, which has resulted in a significantly higher incidence of snakes being spotted in the residential areas, a snake awareness workshop was organised by the Mother Earth Environmental Consciousness Society (MEECONS) and the Eastern Ghats Wildlife Society (EGWS) at VJF Press Club on Sunday.

The programme was attended by 50 participants, including school students and nature lovers.

Speaking to The Hindu on the need for an awareness workshop, K.L.N. Murthy, Conservation Biologist, EGWS – Visakhapatnam, said: “The recent cyclone Hudhud led to a massive destruction of snake habitats. Snakes are being spotted in residential localities and the initial reaction of people is fear and panic. It is important to know that very few snakes are venomous out of the 300 varieties found in India.”

For instance, rat snake and cobra have similar features, but rat snake is a non-poisonous species.

The experts said that, unlike the Western Ghats, the Eastern Ghats had long been neglected in the documentation of species like snakes.

Study

To address this issue, MEECONS and Eastern Ghats Wildlife Society have initiated a study on King Cobra in the Eastern Ghats.

“Regions in North Coastal AP have reported high number of King Cobras. However, these snakes are killed by locals due to fear and ignorance. Incidentally, King Cobras rarely come in contact of humans because they live in high-density forests,” said Mr. Murthy.

The workshop also addressed issues like quick remedy for venomous snakebite and the ecological importance of snakes and their key role as a prey and a predator in the food chain.

The next workshop will be on ‘Rescue and rehabilitation of snakes’.

Scientific rehabilitation

“Snake catchers in the city use unscientific ways to handle snakes and release snakes in one area leading to an ecological imbalance. A study must be done of the ecosystem before releasing snakes there,” Mr. Murthy added. There was a live demonstration of a python by K. V. Ramana Murthy, CEO of Green Mercy, Vizianagaram.

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Printable version | Jan 19, 2020 1:17:08 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Visakhapatnam/save-snakes-nature-needs-them-too/article6691272.ece

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