In a shocking incident of cruelty towards snakes, the Fire Department of Nalasopara has come under the spotlight after a recent allegation against them. The accusations have been made by the Honorary Wildlife Warden of Palghar, Vaishali Chawan, alleging the fire department of cruelty towards the rescued snakes and failing to release them into the wild. Adding to the allegations, she added that the snakes rescued from the area were kept in plastic bottles for almost a month, without being served any food.
In a report by Mid-day on July 18, she said that pictures of the ill-treatment of rescued snakes were shared with her by some of her friends in Nalasopara who rescue snakes. In one of the said pictures, a black snake can be seen trapped in a plastic bottle where it laid eggs. The horrifying pictures of the inhuman treatment of the reptiles left her shocked, she told the media.
While some of them had laid eggs in plastic containers, she shared that some suffered from maggot injuries. After the accusations were made, an official from the fire department of Nalasopara from Vasai Virar Municipal Corporation said that the snakes captured in their jurisdiction were released back to the wild at the Tungareshwar Wildlife Sanctuary. Expressing concern over the matter, Pawan Sharma, the Honorary Wildlife Warden of Thane, stated that there is a state-wide SOP available online for rescue, treatment, rehab, and release of the snakes.
The said rescuers are charging a fee from the people for rescuing snakes as well as showing fake IDs to trick them. The Forest Department is said to take action against these rescuers who claim that they work for the department. Santosh Kank, RFO (Range Forest Officer) at the Thane Forest Department, has clarified that no such IDs have been issued to rescuers by the department and urged citizens to be cautious of such frauds.
However, this is not an isolated event of cruelty towards snakes being reported from Mumbai. Almost six months ago, in January, a checkered keelback snake’s head was covered with a condom. The shameful incident was reported from Kandivali East area of Mumbai when the reptile was spotted near Green Meadow housing society in the area. As a result, the two-and-a-half meter long reptile had become disoriented and showed irregular movements arising from difficulty in breathing.
Snake rescuer Mita Malvankar, was called to the site by a local resident. According to Malvankar, the disgraceful act was performed by someone expert in dealing with snakes as handling checkered keelback snakes is highly dangerous because of their needle-like teeth and painful bites.