GUWAHATI, May 22: A two-day regional workshop on best practices for mitigating human-snake conflict in north-east was organized jointly by the Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) and International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) at Manas National Park on May 19 and 20. The workshop was conducted as a part of the formation of the Indian Snake Rescuers Network (ISRN) which falls under the aegis of the Emergency Relief Network (ERN) Project of IFAW- WTI.
“Snake rescue is one of the most prevalent wildlife related work being undertaken in India. However, many of the individuals involved in it are either ill-equipped, ill-trained or lack the information and learning flow to carry this out ethically and scientifically. This type of workshop and constitution of a network will not only improve the situation but also generate a lot of information on the quantum of such rescues being done in North-east India,” said Abhishek Narayanan of WTI.
The workshop courseware was aimed to reduce wrong practices often followed in rescue work, which not only compromise the welfare and conservation of snakes, but also increase the risk for the rescuer. Topics included basic taxonomy of snakes, handling, capture and transport of snakes, legal considerations relevant to snake rescue, snake-bite management and the like. The participants were also given kits to improve their preparedness for snake rescue and reduce the risks associated with snake-bites. Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for handling snake emergencies and snake-bite management were also provided as resource materials.
Dr. Bhaskar Choudhury, Head Veterinarian (North East), WTI and Head of the IFAW-WTI Greater Manas Conservation Project highlighted that the organization has been training a core team of students, enthusiasts and sensitized citizens in practicing a scientific approach to rescue and rehabilitate snakes in the State.
“This is one of the major steps towards setting up a national level snake rescue network and ensuring the safety of snakes and people across India. As snake rescue is the first line of defense to reduce human-snake conflict, training and equipping the regional snake rescuers will help us reduce human deaths too,” said Jose Louies, Chief of Wild Enforcement and Law, WTI.