Chennai

An IT engineer makes time for snakes

On November 12, Vijay Anandan M took a day off from work. The IT engineer was attending to a few snake rescue calls from Semmancheri and Sholinganallur.

Following a heavy downpour, these snakes had entered houses. Vijay views his voluntary work as rescuing snakes from being killed. Ever since the onset of this monsoon, Vijay has rescued 12 snakes including two cobras. Amidst office work, he manages to find time for snake rescues.

Vijay moved to Sholinganallur from Egmore four years ago as that would make his commute to Siruseri easy.

“In Sholinganallur, I have seen people killing even non-venemous snakes — such as rat snakes, checkered keelback, olive keelback, kukuri, bronze-back tree snake, buff striped keelback, wolf snake, and sandboa — out of fear for their own safety. I wanted to do something about it. Hence, I requested these people to call me the next time they encountered a snake in their house instead of killing it. That’s how it began,” says Vijay, who learnt about snakes at a workshop “Scientific Training of Reptile Management”, offered by Kalinga Centre For Rainforest Ecology.

An IT engineer makes time for snakes
 

Once he happened to rescue a sandboa snake and that led him to become a volunteer recognised by the Tamil Nadu Forest Department.

“A sandboa snake is illegally traded because of its use in making cosmetics and medicines and also believed to bring luck and wealth. Hence, I decided to hand over that snake to the forest department to prevent any false accusations against me.

That is when forest officials told me that I am not supposed to rescue snakes without the knowledge of the department.

They said that such rescue calls have to be routed through them. Hence, I was asked to become a volunteer with the department. Now, the department has mentioned my name in the list of volunteers meant to rescue snakes. I rescue snakes in Kelambakkam, Siruseri and Sholinganallur,” says Vijay, a scuba diver.

Vijay also conducts awareness sessions on snakes for his neighbours.

“I tell them that snakes play a key role in the ecosystem. For example, rat snakes help farmers in managing the pests in the fields. Rat snakes also keep a check on the rodent population. Recently, the wires in my car were impaired by rodents and I had to spend a lot in repairing it. I also tell people that our houses and the surrounding premises should be kept clean and clutter-free. Pile-ups of cardboard boxes, plywoods and tyres are conducive places for snakes. As per rules, I can only conduct theory sessions and not supposed to demonstrate a rescue operation with a snake,” says Vijay.

His neighbours have presented him with the tools necessary to rescue snakes.

Vijay Anandan M can be reached at 98843 06960.


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Printable version | Jan 25, 2022 3:46:19 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/an-it-engineer-makes-time-for-snakes/article37620329.ece

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