Befriending snakes: Helpline educates people
Tuesday, December 26, 2006 (Bhubaneswar):
No other reptile evokes as much fear and curiosity or is as misunderstood as the snake.
There are a whole lot of myths about snakes that can land both reptiles and human beings in trouble.
That is what prompted the Nandankanan Zoo near Bhubaneswar to ask the Snake Helpline people to hold a unique two-day demonstration.
The demonstration is actually aimed at making people know the deadly looking reptile.
Not many know that the dreaded cobra, is the most shy of all reptiles. That's what the Snake Helpline volunteers tried to impress upon thousands of visitors especially school children at the Zoo.
It's fear that provokes people to kill snakes and often it's the non-poisonous ones that account for nearly 90 per cent of the snakes we see around us.
"This has helped remove a lot of blind beliefs and sense of fear I had about snakes. Now I hope to be friendlier to them," said Sudeshna Pradhan, student.
Snake Helpline volunteers who happen to be zoologists told people how snakes help maintain the ecological balance.
They also told about the dos and don'ts in case of a snakebite as blind beliefs and wrong notions can often prove fatal.
"Media, cinema and TV serials should not propagate myths about snakes, because that could cause more deaths. In India, WHO has registered the highest number of deaths due to snake bites," said Subhendu Mallik, Snake Helpline.
Nandankanan Zoo has been conducting wildlife education and awareness programmes through such live demonstrations, three-D cinema and slide shows as part of its drive to promote better appreciation of wildlife.
But nothing has been such a big hit as the Snake Show.