BANGALORE: The Bangalore City Corporation’s Forest Cell and Paramedic Centre witnessed a rise in panic calls from the city residents. The calls are mainly pertaining to that of the reptile menace in their houses.
The city which was once known as the ‘Pensioner’s Paradise’ with lots of greenery has now been replaced with concrete jungle. Hence, the man-animal conflict is on the rise.
The panic calls and reptile spotting in the house garden, kitchen and bathroom has now reached a scary proportion. There are about 150 calls made on a daily basis seeking help of snake catchers and BBMP (Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike) Forest Cell in clearing reptiles. But the BBMP snake catchers and rescuers are only around 33 who have to keep a vigil in all the 198 wards having a population of over one crore.
The maximum calls are from the newly added wards to BBMP which is around 65.
Bangalore, spread across over 857 kilometres geographically, was once a hub for reptiles and other wildlife creatures. A lot of agrarian activity used to take place which in turn attracted rodents preyed upon by snakes.
With the advent of urbanisation and the dwindling agriculture activity, the forest creatures depending on it have been on the receiving end. Wildlife enthusiast and volunteer Deputy Mayor S Harish, observed that the rise of population has made human beings occupy the habitat of the reptiles and other animals. “We have gone into their territory and now we complain about they being spotted in our homes. The only way out, is to learn to co-exist with these reptiles. We would also seriously consider the work of the snake catchers and rescuers,”
He further noted that the campaign will be carried out to create awareness among people, not to panic and kill the snake when spotted. People can call our 24-hour- helpline number.
However, the BBMP Forest Cell is not happy with the kind of treatment meted out to the rescuers. They claim that, despite their efforts which is very risk oriented, they do not get paid well. What was even more shocking was the fact that 6 officials out of 33 who are employed on the basis of monthly honorarium, have not got a single penny from the BBMP.
“We have to toil without asking any questions. Our work involves our life, but our efforts are not considered. We are yet to get the monthly honorarium of about Rs 8,000. This amount is pending for almost a year”, said Sharat Babu Wildlife Warden, BBMP forest cell and paramedic center.
BBMP control room number for wildlife rescue and rehabilitation 080-22221188.