PALAKKAD: The meet to form the Kerala Snake and Wild animals Rescue Association at Kaipuram in Thiruvegapura panchayat was an interesting affair as 50-odd snake catchers from various districts assembled and also narrated interesting incidents.
The meet was held at the Visha Chikitsalayam of snake master Kaipuram Abbas. There were many catchers who had begun catching reptiles from an early age and converted it into a hobby. Most of them had arrived with their family members.
At the meet, the snake catchers, who were earlier unorganised, decided to coordinate and function as an organised group. It was pointed out that the association will work towards the welfare of the members.
The speakers said that in spite of undertaking such a risky occupation and satisfying thousands of households who ring up every day for assistance, they have not been considered for any assistance by the governments in power. They said, as catchers, they not only save precious lives but also help conserve wildlife but are still being ignored.
The catchers said they were doing the job with the permission of the Forest Department and also by adhering to the rules of the Wild Life Protection Act. Many of the catchers were doing the job for the last two to three decades. It was one year ago that they had constituted a WhatsApp group which finally led to the formation of the association.
The members said they were not only engaged in catching snakes but also drove away wild elephants and other wild creatures. The wild animals which accidentally fall into ponds and wells are also rescued by them.
Those who attended the collective included Sangeetha, the daughter of famous snake catcher Velayudhan of Olavanna in Kozhikode. She is also a snake catcher and was the chief guest at Friday’s event. Those who worked in Nilambur forests to take care of wild elephants also attended the meet. The meet concluded with a magic show by Rajesh Kurkh of Karnataka.
Those who spoke included Vanamithra award winner Mohandas Ediyath, Sharath Shornur, Mujeeb Vazhikadavu, Abbas Kaipuram and Baiju Kottapadam.
The new office-bearers of Kerala Snake and Wild animals Rescue Association are: Baiju Kottapadam (president) Abbas Kaipuram (vice-president) , Sharath Shoranur (general secretary), Sangeetha Kozhikode (joint secretary) and Mujeeb Vazhikadavu (treasurer)