Bhubaneswar, Sept 2 (LocalWire): The state government has decided to utilize the skill and expertise of traditional snake charmers to rescue reptiles and has initiated an inventory of these people.
After the enforcement of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, snake charmers across the state lost their livelihood as they had to give up their traditional trade and search for alternate jobs.
Snake rescuers played a vital role in reducing human-snake conflict as they had an inherent skill of snooping out snakes. The government has decided to offer them token monetary grants, said senior officials of state forest department.
‘We have so far received around 50 applications from snake rescuers, who earlier eked out their living as snake charmers.
The enlisted rescuers will be conferred with legal sanction from chief wildlife warden to relocate snakes from human habitations,’ forest officials said.
Snake bites, declared ‘state specific disaster’ by the state government since 1 April, 2015, claim close to 600 human lives every year. Government provides Rs 4 lakh aid to the deceased’s next of kin, said officials.
Herpetologists demanded formulation of safety guidelines for the snake charmers, general secretary of Odisha snake helpline, Subhendu Mallick, told LocalWire and sought substantial monetary relief for them, keeping in mind the danger involved in rescuing snakes.