A farmer was arrested for killing a 13-foot-long king cobra, an endangered species, on Saturday. The age of the snake could be anywhere between 10 and 15 years, forest officials said.
On Saturday, Appaiya Nayakkar (42) from Kammapatti was working on a plot of agricultural land he owned at Thattaparai, when he spotted the reptile. He killed it and buried it in the forest nearby.
Later, forest officers on rounds noticed marks left behind when Appaiya dragged the dead snake to bury it. They followed the trail of blood to the burial spot. The officers questioned Appaiya who admitted to have killed the sanke in self-defence. Appaiya was arrested under Schedule-II Part-II of the Wild Life Protection Act -- a non-bailable offence.
Meanwhile, the carcass was recovered and taken to the Srivilliputhur forest ranger’s office. If convicted, the farmer might be sentenced for anywhere between three and seven years imprisonment.
The snake that was killed was a male king cobra, said district wildlife warden T K Ashok Kumar. Usually found in hilly areas, it avoidsed human contact, he said, adding, a known habitat was the Western Ghats, from Kanyakumari to Karnataka. Although it was often projected to be a ferocious reptile, it had a calm nature and avoided confrontation, he added. The life span of a cobra —the only species that makes nests to lay eggs — is about 30 years.
‘Murder in Self-defence’
The Tamil Nadu Vivasayigal Sangam has questioned the arrest of Appaiya asking if the law meant that farmers could risk their lives in the name of safeguarding the species.
“Does the forest department expect Appaiya to allow it to bite him,” asked P Shanmugam, State general secretary of the ryots body.