Call to act against untrained snake handlers

Local residents in Cherambadi on Saturday, found a more than 10-foot-long King Cobra in the surrounding area, and captured it. The group of youths, posed for pictures with the animal, improperly securing the animal, possibly hurting it in the process and putting themselves at risk, conservationists said.

According to forest department officials, the Cherambadi area was one of the prime habitats where King Cobras, which are the largest venomous snake species in the world, thrive in. On Saturday, a group of youths came upon the animal by the side of the road. Instead of alerting the forest department, the men captured the animal and posed for pictures with it, before forest staff finally arrived.

Pictures of the youths carelessly handling the snake were shared on mobile messaging applications, with conservationists stating that not only do such actions put the health of the animal in jeopardy, but also the lives of the people handling them.

V. Sivadas, Managing Trustee of the Nilgiri Environment and Cultural Service Trust (NEST), and the National Green Corps co-ordinator for the Coonoor education district, said that the forest department should impose fines on untrained and unlicensed snake handlers who capture the animals in order to post pictures of their acts on social media. “Snakes are very fragile creatures and improperly handling them can lead to serious injuries which will lead to their deaths in the wild,” he said.

Forest department officials said that the animal was safely bagged and released into a reserve forest surrounding Pandalur. They said that a quick check was done to ensure that the animal was not injured before it was released.

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