WILDLIFE: Snake survey

WILDLIFE: Snake survey – and what about snakes of the political kind in the region ?!!

A recently captured King Cobra in the Darjeeling Terai - scary but more concerned about minding its own business, unless disturbed ?!! (Darpan)

FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT

Siliguri, Aug. 26: The forest department is conducting a survey to find out the number of snakes in two wildlife sanctuaries of north Bengal.

Deepak Mitra, a herpetologist associated with the project, has already completed the first phase of the study.

“We have to conduct the survey across winter, summer and monsoon seasons, and only then we can get the actual figure,” Mitra told The Telegraph over the phone from Pune.

He added that the reptiles would be counted by the direct sighting method.

“This is the first time that the department is taking an initiative to find out the number of snakes in the forests of north Bengal. We reviewed Gorumara in the summer, and from July 21-30 our team had conducted the survey in the Mahananda forests. I will visit the sanctuary again next month before the monsoon ends,” Mitra said.

According to sources in the forest department and NGOs, around 50 species of snakes, including rock pythons, king cobras and rat snakes, are found in north Bengal.

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