Snakes are our Friends, not Foe!
As mentioned in earlier articles, VSPCA is a witness to many human-animal conflicts, which are only increasing. This can be attributed to urbanization and deforestation as human populations enter and take over natural and wildlife habitats. In Visakhapatnam, this has led to several snake species–rattlesnakes, Russell vipers, green vipers, and cobras–entering people’s houses in search of food, water, and warmth.
Despite most snake species’ unwarranted reputations, snakes are critically important to maintain the homeostatic balance of our environment. They maintain a balance in the food chain and help humans control harmful “pest” populations (rodents, insects, lizards, etc). However, many snake species populations are on the brink of extinction in India due to habitat destruction and extreme human persecution. Currently, there is a considerable gap between conservation efforts and the culling of snakes by residents living in predominantly rural and impoverished areas. We must realize the importance of snakes and their impact on ecosystem biodiversity.
VSPCA is proud to announce that we successfully campaigned to stop the exploitation of cobras during the Nagula Chavithi festival. Snakes undergo great abuse at the festival in the name of human health and worship. Some things done to snakes can be considered too graphic for our readers. Thousands of these beautiful animals have been sacrificed for human wants.
With years of consistent persistence against this problem and focusing on education and awareness of this issue, we have removed this practice from the city of Visakhapatnam. Today, one can see scores of snake sacrificial places with idols of snakes and fruit/flower/object-stand-ins. We have appealed to peoples’ sensitivities requesting them to take care of all God’s creatures and not harm those who have a right to live peacefully as well.
We share the rescue of this cobra (pictured below) and how our team was able to successfully shift it into the nearest forest to live out its life. We are working in rural regions of our district to rid the countryside of such exploitation.