Bhubaneswar, Aug 9: The Odisha government on Wednesday issued guidelines for the rescue and release of snakes from the human dominated areas by snake handlers.
As per the guideline, only the certified snake handlers are permitted to carry out the entire snake rescue and release operations in the State, by following the guidelines, failing which will invite penal actions as per the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
Rescue of snakes will be attempted only in such cases where there is presence a threat to life. Rescue of snakes must be limited to the snakes entering the human habitation irrespective of whether venomous or non-venomous.
Creating mob panic, showing off the rescued snakes publicly and any other public display with the snakes, even by the snake handler himself, will be liable to penal action.
Interested individuals, of not more than 65 years of age, will be called to apply for certification as snake handlers, through advertisements in local newspapers and through the official website of the Forest Department.
“Mandatory training for two-days on safe and scientific handling of snakes may be given to the shortlisted Snake Handlers by experts. On the successful completion of training, the Snake Handlers will be given certification as per the Section 11 of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 Certification will be valid for 5 years from the date of issue. Renewal of certification shall follow the same procedure as afresh,” read the guideline.
Details of the certified snake handlers shall be provided to various local self government institutions, all officers of forest department, fire & rescue services, and local police stations to ensure immediate contact and access to the nearest snake handler in response to an incident. The list will also be uploaded in the official website of the Forest Department and other related websites.
All rescued snakes shall be released as soon as possible and in the mandatory presence of officials of the Forest Department. If the rescued snake is injured, it will be released only after assessment of its health and fitness in consultation with the officials of the Forest Department.