The Snake Charmer
It seems the #WildAtHearts are speaking up for Forests and Wildlife throughout the country.The latest campaign being the protection and awareness of three python species, namely Indian Rock Python (Python molurus), Burmese Python (Python bivittatus) and Reticulated python (Malayopython reticulatus).
This initiative fronted by the award winning, Goa’s well-known herpetologist, Nirmal Kulkarni, aims to promote acceptance and understanding about Indian pythons through conservation outreach, community engagement and field based herpetology techniques. ”This initiative,” says Nirmal, ”was the result of a 20-minute chat with mentor and guide, Romulus Whitaker, whose own work on pythons continues till date.”
Nirmal’s interest in pythons was fueled due to the large number of rescues he did of these species from homes as well as from snake charmers in his formative years as a snake handler. Whilst working for short terms at the Katraj Snake Park and the Madras Crocodile Bank Trust, these snakes held him in awe for their sheer size as well as strength, Nirmal shares. Together, these snakes represent some of the largest snake species of the world. While the Reticulated Python is now acknowledged as one of the largest snakes in the world, the Burmese Python is a near threatened species in its range in Burma. ”Illegal skin trade and habitat loss have taken a heavy toll. The one ray of hope is the forest of North East India where a few populations survive. The species found in India commonly, the Indian Rock python has a high mortality rate due to human reptile conflict and habitat loss,” Nirmal asserts.
‘Living with Pythons’ aims to thus promote acceptance, awareness and understanding about these python species through conservation outreach and field based herpetology techniques.The initiative aims to achieve these objectives through on field discussions, engagements with communities, youth and actively working with on field Forest Department personnel.
”It will also contribute to creating awareness on the issue of human-snake conflicts that are key to python survival in human dominated rural and urban landscapes. Besides which the initiative proposes to address a need for a common protocol for Python rescue and release, as it will help minimize and address issues relating reptile-human conflict and provide vital answers to this growing challenge especially in urban India,” Nirmal concludes.
Here’s calling more #WildAtHeart eco-soldiers to front pressing issues of Mother Earth’s wild sentinels.