HYDERABAD: Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) officials are wary of finding a large number of snakes and scorpions at Golconda Fort when the lockdown is finally lifted and the site is reopened for visitors. The rugged geography of the place marked by a rocky terrain over three km makes it an optimum eco-system for such reptiles to thrive. “In normal times, one can find scorpions in places where people generally do not venture.
Now, because of the lockdown, they are going to be everywhere,” MK Chauley, Superintending Archaeologist of ASI-Hyderabad, says. Chauley says scorpions are commonly spotted in the Golconda Fort, and there have been instances in the past when guards have encountered snakes as well. According to him, the lack of human footfall in the heritage site for a month would mean that the number of reptiles would increase.
“The first thing we have to do when it reopens is to ensure that the entire space is cleaned and is made safe again for visitors,” he added. All ASI sites in the State, such as Charminar, Golconda Fort, Ramappa Temple and so on have been closed in view of the lockdown. However, animal activists say there is no cause for worry. Durga Parthasarathy, a member of Friends of Snakes Society said, “Reptiles such as snakes are always on the lookout for predators such as cats, dogs, and even humans.
So, whenever they sense the presence of such animals, they go into hiding. It is unlikely that visitors will stumble upon snakes when they visit.” The problem of snakes in Golconda Fort was highlighted in 2017, when Ivanka Trump, US President Donald Trump’s daughter, visited the city. Snake catchers were deployed by the Forest Department in co-ordination with police and Nehru Zoological Park for catching snakes from the fort.