Forest Department Officials Rescue Snakes in Assam


Kaziranga: After elephants, rhinos and leopards, the Center for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation (CWRC) in the north eastern state of Assam now houses ten snakes that have a new terrarium. Ten snakes of various species were recovered from snake charmers on 14 th July by the Forest Department in Dergaon, in Golaghat district of Assam. This is the third seizure of snakes in the last two months by the forests department from different parts of Assam . The first seizure of this kind was made at Sibsagar on 18 th June where a John’s earth boa and a Russell’s earth boa (rat snake) was recovered and the second seizure was on 24 th June at Bokakhat where two common vine snakes (Ahaetulla nasuta) were recovered from snake charmers.

All the snakes from the present seizure are now kept at the newly constructed terrarium for at CWRC in Kaziranga National Park . The centre is the only rehab centre for the wild in the region and was jointly set up by the Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) and the Department of Forests, Assam with support from the International fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW).

According to Anjan Talukdar the wildlife veterinarian at CWRC, “Of the ten snakes from the recent seizure, five are monocellate cobras (Naja kaouthia), two are rat snakes (Ptyas mucosus) & (Coelognatus), two are common vine snakes (Ahaetulla nasuta) one green and black and a flying snake (Coelognatus ornate). These snakes were recovered by the forest department after a tip-off by a local NGO, Nature’s Beacon at Dergaon”.

“Some of the species are not found in Assam and are considered to be as far as from Rajasthan and Andaman & Nicobar Islands. Hence some of these snakes cannot be released in this part of the region. Two of the snakes rescued earlier were found with their poison glands and fangs removed and are not suitable for release back to the wild”, he further added.

At present, the CWRC is holding 13 snakes, apart from three other snakes from the previous seizures. The reptiles are presently tube-fed with minced chicken or chicken soup. Most of these reptiles will be transferred to Guwahati Zoo at their newly constructed reptile house since they are unsuitable for release into the wild.

All the rescued snakes at CWRC are protected under the Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972. Illegal trade or any use of these species for commercial gain is prohibited under the law. CWRC provides rescue and rehabilitation facilities for the distressed, diseased and displaced wild animals of the region and is in service since 2002.

Pictures: Dr. Anjan Talukdar