Pratyush P. Mohapatra
Setting Up Snake Helpline Clubs in Four Towns of Orissa
King cobra rescue from Bhubaneswar.
Poster on Venomous snakes of Orissa.
|India||Conflict, Education, Indian Sub-continent, Reptiles||15 Sep 2006|
Snakebite is one of the common accidents in rural and urban area affecting 0.66-1.66 millions of Indian population per annum and the mortality vary from 1.7%-20% (Chippaux, 1998). Lack of awareness and credulous belief by taking the victims to quack doctors and temples has forced many snake bitten victims to die unnatural death. Rapid habitat destruction and adaptiveness of some snakes to live near human habitations for easy hunt maximize the casualty than any other animal-human conflict. Snake help-line is a volunteer team of experienced students, started in the year 2002 by the team leader, with the main aim to reduce snake-human conflicts by rescue, relocation, research and public awareness.
“Snake help-line clubs” are planned to set up in Bhubaneswar, Baripada, Berhmpur and Dhenkanal of Orissa, India with the already trained volunteers of the area. It is aimed at snake rescue by attending phone calls round the clock, relocation of the rescued snake in appropriate habitat and snake-education. Snake handling will be done as per the safety protocol to minimize the accidents with the rescuers. Relocation will be done in agricultural fields, forest areas and abandon places where there will be more chance of survival for the snakes.
Till now the team has rescued more than 1,500 snakes, organized 32 awareness campaigns and counseled more than 75 snakebite cases. Awareness campaigns by pictographs, video shows, distribution of colour leaflets and wall- paintings at different parts of the state will be effective in educating public. We also have started our work in remote snake prone areas of Orissa by training volunteers to rescue snakes by themselves from the villages by providing snake-tongs and other equipment to counter the conflict. It is expected that people are more anxious to know about the snakes and the model project will be successful in reducing the snakebite in most parts of Orissa.
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