“It’s not only about conserving snakes but also understanding the importance of its existence,” says Murthy Kantimahanti founder and lead conservation biologist for the Eastern Ghats Wildlife Society (EGWS), Vizag on the eve of World Snake Day. Observed every year on 16 July, World Snake Day is celebrated to create awareness around this species that is important for the ecology.
“Around this time of the year, when the rains kick in, it is very common to see cases of snake bites. Mostly affecting the agriculture community, the lack of awareness leads to the unnecessary killing of snakes,” said Murthy while speaking on the need to create awareness. The negative connotation snakes carry makes human beings more vulnerable to killing them when sighted. The lesser-known fact is that most snakes are not venomous and do not threaten the life of human beings according to the biologist. “Therefore, we give utmost importance towards creating awareness on snake bite management, how to prevent and how to rescue oneself, especially in the rural areas,” he added.
The EGWS has been conducting a community outreach program since 2016, through which they aim to mitigate human-snake conflicts and protect threatened species in the rural areas of Vizag District. “We train locals who were previously engaged in snake killing and provide them the necessary equipment such as snake hooks, torch lights, footwear and help them with building the capacity of rescuing snakes safely,” said the lead conservationist. The team mainly aims at eradicating the belief of killing snakes as the only solution.
Speaking on the composition of snakes here, he said, “Vizag District alone has around 30 different species of snakes and few of the most threatened ones hail from here. The King Cobra, Mock Viper (rare snake), Pit Viper (type locality), Indian Rock Python (Schedule I) are among the few found in Vizag and are currently labelled as threatened.”
As a part of emphasising their importance, the EGWS has organised an exhibition of illustrations on the snakes of Vizag from tomorrow, 16 July to 18 July 2022 to commemorate World Snake Day. Happening at the Visakha Museum on Beach Road from 11:00 am, the event will have pencil sketches by artist Nagarjuna Sridhara based on hundreds of photographs of snakes. APCCF Special Secretary, Housing Department of Andhra Pradesh Secretariat will virtually grace the event as the Chief Guest. Chief Conservator of Forests for Visakhapatnam P Ram Mohan Rao IFS and Ch Vasu Prakash will be gracing the event as guests of honour.
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