Two Kovai snake catchers arrested for posting video of rat snake online

According to sources, the two rescued an eight foot rat snake from a house in Puliyakulam on May 22. They shot a video before handing it over to the forest department.
Video posted online by Abdul Rahman of Puliyakulam and Maheswari of Chinnavedampatti
Video posted online by Abdul Rahman of Puliyakulam and Maheswari of Chinnavedampatti(Photo | Express)

COIMBATORE: Coimbatore forest range officials on Monday night arrested two snake catchers for illegally handling a rat snake and uploading the video in their social media handles. The arrested were identified as Abdul Rahman alias Sanjay of Puliyakulam and Maheswari of Chinnavedampatti.

Coimbatore forest range officer V Thirummurugan registered a case against them since rat snake is under Schedule I (Part C) of the Wildlife Protection Act,1972. The two were released on bail.

According to sources, the two rescued an eight foot rat snake from a house in Puliyakulam on May 22. They shot a video before handing it over to the forest department. “As per guidelines, snakes should be put inside a sack after rescue. We were not aware that they took a video which is an offence. We noticed the video on May 26 after it went viral online,” said a forest department official.

Wildlife activists said forest department should allow people who rescue snakes with its approval and punish those who exhibit the wildlife species with commercial intent.

N Sadiq Ali, founder of Wildlife and Nature Conservation Trust (WNCT), said “Rescuers should be screened thoroughly and be given a proper permit. They should also be given renumeration at least to manage fuel expenses. Group insurance should be provided to rescuers,” he said.

Antony Rubin, member of State Board for Wildlife said taking pictures and videos of snakes while rescuing as well as releasing them will not be allowed since it will motivate others to follow suit.

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