RAIPUR: The abuse or harm to animals is not uncommon in human society. Recently in Chhattisgarh capital, human cruelty was traced where the snakes suffered in illegal possession to the extent of getting dehydrated and some even starved as their mouths were sealed by the snake charmers or those abusing the iconic reptile species for begging purposes.
To the shock of the officials of the forest department and the animal lovers who found that besides the transparent cello tapes, some adhesives were used to tightly close the mouth of the seized snakes.
The recent anti-poaching raids were carried out on a tip-off over some unidentified people reportedly using the auspicious months like Shravana and even later, the snakes were shown among the public in an attempt to influence the devotees in exchange for money.
Such practices were going on unchecked as the violators continued exploiting either in the name of entertainment or religious belief, luring the devotees while putting the snakes on the show with the promise of divine blessings and later demanded offerings.
As many as 20 different snake species including Indian Rat snakes, Sand boas, and Cobra were rescued and released in the wild at Barnavapara wildlife sanctuary, about 60 km from the state capital.
“It was after we seized the snakes to leave them at the Barnavapara forest, our team and forest deputy ranger found the mouths of the snakes apparently immobile. Examining closely, we found tapes and some adhesives were used. We cautiously removed it and cleaned the mouth making it easier for the snakes to open it before setting free the reptiles in the wild”, said Moiz Khan of Nova Nature Society.
“Such human cruelty in the name of religious faith should never be allowed. There are various snake species protected under the Wildlife Protection Act 1972 and keeping them in possession is an illegal offence. Such treatment closing the mouth of snakes is really barbaric”, said Nitin Singhvi, wildlife enthusiast.
Snake charmers and others engaged in such illegal acts admitted that they had used tapes and adhesives purportedly for safety reasons as the snakes may harm the people when they demand to hold the carnivorous reptiles or take a selfie with them.
“Some even drape snakes around the shoulder and pay Rs 100-200”, they said.