Odisha: Kendrapara’s snake man succumbs to cobra bite

The irony couldn’t have been starker. Kendrapara’s well-known snake catcher Sk.

Published: 22nd March 2022 04:45 AM  |   Last Updated: 22nd March 2022 04:45 AM   |  A+A-

Video grab of Suleiman rescuing the cobra just before being bit | Express

By Express News Service

KENDRAPARA:  The irony couldn’t have been starker. Kendrapara’s well-known snake catcher Sk. Suleiman may have rescued thousands of snakes during his career but a snake bite ultimately claimed his life. 

The 65-year-old conservationist of Goudagopa village in Kendrapara town succumbed after being bit by a cobra while he was rescuing the reptile in Basapur village under Derabishi block on Sunday afternoon. The incident was recorded by onlookers on their mobile phones. In the video, Suleiman was seen holding the cobra when suddenly it bit him. He was rushed to the district headquarters hospital but doctors declared him dead.

Alekha Chandra Nayak, from whose house the cobra was rescued, said,”Suleiman rushed to the village as soon as he got to know about the snake in my house. He was rescuing the cobra when unfortunately the snake bit him. “

Credited with rescuing over 4,000 snakes in the last three decades, Suleiman was also an active member of People for Animals and Snake Helpline in the district. He had launched a snake conservation campaign in the district and reportedly educated many people about the snakes. 

“He was an expert on reptiles, especially snakes. He even had emergency vaccines and a pump to remove poison at home. Despite all precautions, we are sad that he died while rescuing a snake,” said Prafulla Kumar Swain, member of Kendrapara Snake Helpline. 

Suleiman was cremated at the village burial ground in presence of local residents, environmentalists and others on Sunday night. Commenting on the incident, noted herpetologist and general secretary of Odisha Snake Helpline Suvendu Mallick said it is important to exercise strong grip on cobra and other poisonous snakes by using a hook or a tong.

Catching them by the neck can prove to be dangerous. The rescued snake should be carefully placed in the bag and handed over to forest officials for its safe release. “It is very important to follow a scientific method while handling and catching snakes. Sk. Suleiman was not wearing a snake gaiter for protection and hence this happened,” he said.


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