World Snake Day: Why is India still the snake bite capital of the world? | In Focus podcast

Sumanth Bindumadhav speaks to us about the role of snakes in the ecosystem and why they need to be protected.

July 13, 2023 07:34 pm | Updated 09:18 pm IST

July 16 is World Snake Day. When you have a day dedicated to something, it typically denotes a call to care for, or draw attention to, the welfare of the entity to which the day is dedicated. That’s how it is with Father’s Day, Mother’s Day and so on. But with World Snake Day, things get a little complicated, as the first thing that comes to mind when you mention ‘snakes’ is the fear of snake bites, and the fact that India is the snake-bite capital of the world. So we tend to forget that snakes are also part of wildlife, and discussions about the importance of conserving snake species tends to take a backseat.

It is estimated that out of the 78,000-100,000 snake bites that occur every year globally, the vast majority – about 64,000 – happen in India. The snake bite is a public health issue in India. At the same time, it is a marker of high human-snake conflict. In this episode, on the eve of World Snake Day, we take a closer look at the human-snake conflict, what has India been doing to bring down snake-bite fatalities, what role snakes play in India’s bio-diversity and why they need to be protected.

Guest: Sumanth Bindumadhav, Director of the Wildlife Department at Humane Society International, India

Host: G. Sampath, Social Affairs Editor, The Hindu

Edited by Jude Francis Weston

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