Three snake charmers held with rare species

New Delhi, May 16 (IANS) Three snake charmers were arrested with three rare Red Sand Boas, a protected species, here on Monday, an official said.

The snakes were seized and handed over to the Wildlife SOS, a wildlife conservation organisation that runs a 24 hours animal rescue unit.

“A call from the Delhi Police on the Wildlife SOS 24-hr helpline number 9871963535, alerted us. We rescued the three snakes that were seized near Dhaula Kuan,” a wildlife SOS spokesperson said.

Due to their double-headed appearance and the superstitious myths attached, the sand boas are a threatened species. The snakes are a protected species under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, that prohibits display and entertainment of the protected species.

“Snake charming involves cruel practices. The snakes are subjected to inhumane methods to perform, their fangs are smashed or crudely extracted, their venom glands are gouged out, they are starved and dehydrated, their spines often broken by mishandling, they are left for hours in cramped tiny spaces, their mouths are often stitched shut,” Kartick Satyanarayan, co-founder Wildlife SOS, told IANS.

A police officer said that they received a report about the presence of three men in possession of rare snakes, which were being used for duping people into believing that they brought good luck and had medicinal values. The men were immediately taken into police custody, following which the authorities contacted Wildlife SOS.

The snake charmers were displaying the snakes at the traffic signal when the police intercepted them. The Red Sand Boa is a non-venomous boa species found in India, Pakistan and Iran.

The snakes are currently under observation and will be released back into the wild once deemed fit.

“The loss of the tradition of snake charming means less unethical, abusive and cruel treatment of wildlife by human beings. We have lost nothing but have gained hugely by ending this practice. The illiterate snake charmers are now educated and have been provided benefits and alternative livelihood by the government. Some of them now also assist Wildlife SOS in their rescue efforts,” Kartick said.



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