Dhenkanal: Good news for animal lovers and environmentalists as the population of King Cobra and Python is increasing in Dhenkanal district.
There are over 300 varieties of snakes in India. Of them, only 52 are categorized as venomous. Similarly, out of the 80 different types of snakes seen in Odisha, 17 are classified as venomous and ten as highly venomous.
Government reports claim that snake bites claimed as many as 128 lives in the last five years.
As per snake researchers, most of the deaths occur when any of the snake varieties including Cobra, Cobra-de-Capello (locally known as ‘Tampa’), Painted snake (locally known as ‘Chiti’), Printed snake (locally known as ‘Rana’) and Sand Viper (locally known as ‘Dhulia Naga’) and Russell’s Viper (locally known as ‘Chandan Boda’) bite.
Dhenkanal district’s cold climate plays a major role in the reptiles’ increasing population, according to the researchers. King Cobras and Pythons are found mostly in Kapilash sanctuary, Phasi Gaon amd Kandhara areas under Hindol range and Anantapur forest reserve under Kankadahada block. Python and King Cobra constitute 42 and 35 per cent of the entire snake population in the district.
A python prefers a comparatively darker place like a stone cave or a hollow of a tree. Similarly, King Cobras prefer dense forest. King Cobra generally preys on smaller snakes and rodents. Sometimes, in search of food these snakes slither into human habitations and often end up being killed.
In the last week, three King Cobras were rescued from human habitations. Two were believed to have sneaked from Phasi Gaon jungle and one from Kapilash sanctuary.
The one rescued from Phasi Gaon was 16-foot-long. When it was spotted, it was lying in the area motionlessly after being beaten up by local people. On being informed, members of Banyak Foundation rescued it and released it into its natural habitat.
Papun Das, a member of the foundation, requests people to not cause any harm to any reptiles as they are nature’s gift.
Similarly, environmentalist Pradyumna Rath said that snakes are the friends of farmers as they help them get rid of the infestation from rats.
When contacted, director, Banyak Foundation, Sanjib Behera said the members have been providing protection to the snakes in the district. “We are rescuing these reptiles and with the help of forest department officials releasing them in jungles. People get terrified upon seeing a snake and in most cases they kill it which should not be done. Awareness can only save people’s lives from snake bites. Instead of rushing to a snake charmer or any sorcerer, the snake-bite victim should instead be taken to hospital,” he suggested.