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Eight new species of snakes discovered in Chhattisgarh

Eight new species of snakes were discovered in a survey conducted for the first time in four districts of Chhattisgarh by forest department and Nova nature welfare society, a wildlife NGO. While state is known for having rich species of snakes and reptiles, initial survey was conducted in Gariyaband, Baloda Bazaar, Dhamtari and Raipur districts and others like Jashpur may be surveyed in near future, confirmed a forest official. Talking to TOI, Moiz Ahmed snake expert of Nova nature welfare society said that his team found eight new species of snakes in four districts in a time span of one year and there were chances of many more species to be identified. "Chhattisgarh is rich in wildlife due to immense forest cover and study of snakes has become the need of hour for which this survey was conducted so that further studies could be pursued.

 

Catching a snake is a tedious and challenging job. We found 27 species of snakes of which eight were discovered for the first time and 43 species of reptiles including toads, lizards and rats." He said parts of Barnawapara, Udanti-Sitanadi tiger reserve and Dhavalpur areas have varieties of snakes' species and it's from these places the new species were found. In absence of any data base, researchers also saw a block in studying about snakes found in state, being known as the 'naglok' of Chhattisgarh, Jashpur has been waiting for proposed snake park there for years.

 

"This is the first time that we discovered new species of snakes in state while there were few more which couldn't be caught else they could have ranged in more varieties," Moiz said. Speaking about threat to snakes Moiz said that with increase in deforestation, mining, industrialization, destruction of natural habitat and killing of snakes many species face extinction like those of spectacle cobra, rock python, bandet krait etc. Spectacles cobra and common krait fall under poisonous snakes category and are often killed by the villagers out of fear.

 

Moiz explained various techniques of snake catching and studying includingpit-fall trap, vehicle-way surveying, transact and trial methods. Nova nature welfare society is known for rescuing of snakes in case of emergency, whenever snakes are seen specially at residential areas or in case of snake bite, members of society are called for rescue.

 

 Times of India, Delhi, Saturday 31st May 2014