Andhra Pradesh

3 field stations to come up to save king cobra

Apex predator: A cobra peeping out of its pit on the outskirts of Visakhapatnam.

Apex predator: A cobra peeping out of its pit on the outskirts of Visakhapatnam.   | Photo Credit: K_R_DEEPAK

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Project report will be ready in 15 days, says Chief Conservator of Forests

With a view to address the man-animal conflicts prevalent across the region, especially concerning the king cobra that exist in good numbers across the Eastern Ghats, the State Forest Department is planning to set up three field stations, each in every district in north coastal A.P., in the next two months. The initiative will be done in association with the Madras Crocodile Bank Trust.

50,000 deaths

Rahul Pandey, Chief Conservator of Forests, told The Hindu: “The project report will be ready in 15 days. The main objective of the field station will be to bring down the response time to two to three hours after an incident is reported. Two trained snake trackers will be deputed for the project.” The field stations will be set up in areas where maximum casualty is reported due to snakebites. The project will be mentored by Romulus Whitaker, known as the founder of the Madras Snake Park. The initiative gains significance at a time when around 50,000 deaths are reported across the country in a year due to snakebites. According to experts, the king cobra functions as the apex predator and plays a critical role in ecosystem.

Research on reptiles

Mr. Whitaker, who is currently on a visit to the city, interacted with the forest officials and participated in an interactive session with school students at Indira Gandhi Zoological Park on Monday.

He also extended his support and expertise for research on reptiles of the the zoo park. With IGZP left with only two mugger crocodiles at present, Mr. Whitaker has promised to get another five or six to the park in the near future.

He emphasised on the importance of knowing the common venomous snakes in the country like common cobra, common krait, saw-scaled viper and Russell’s Viper and spoke on the dos and don’ts in case of a snakebite incidence.

He has also explained various facts related to snakes which are not very well known in the rural India and the need to create awareness among villagers for not killing snakes but to capture and release them with the help of Forest Department officials and certified snake catchers.

The programme was attended by zoo curator Yesoda , C. Selvam, Divisional Forest Officer, K.L.N. Murthy, biologist, Eastern Ghats Wildlife Society, and students of Sri Prakash Vidyaniketan.

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Printable version | Dec 9, 2019 8:43:36 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/3-field-stations-to-come-up-to-save-king-cobra/article24256984.ece

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