Environmentalists carrying out research on adverse effects of rampant mining in the Sindhudurg district stumbled upon an endangered reptile -- flying snake or Chrysopelea -- in Amboli, around 395 km from the city. According to environmentalists, this snake has given a glimmer of hope that there could be at least 10 to 15 flying snakes in the region.
On Verge of extinction: Besides the flying snakes there are other
animals that are endangered in the area.
If the government does not take necessary steps at the earliest these exotic reptiles will be extinct soon.
Surprisingly, even the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report, prepared by the environment ministry on the mining project, has failed to notify the habitat of the flying snakes in Amboli.
30 sanctioned mines
There are about 30 sanctioned mines in Sawantwadi-Dodamarg region that is replete with greenery. Though the High Court has put a moratorium on the mining activity till December 31, environmentalists after stumbling on a treasure trove of endangered species have appealed to the state government to declare the region as a wildlife park or a tiger reserve.
D Stalin, project director of NGO Vanashakti who has been campaigning against illegal mining in the area, said, "We discovered a rare flying snake last week and are sure that there will be more in the region. The state will have to take some action to protect these endangered species." These snakes that feed on frogs, lizards and small birds have been facing a threat due to rampant destruction of trees and other environmental violations.
Earlier, the activists had submitted the North Konkan Ecologically Sensitive Area report to the environment ministry seeking protection for the Sawantwadi area, which is crucial for the biodiversity and water security of the Western Ghats.
"Besides the flying snakes, there are squirrels, tigers, pythons and leopards in the area. With the approval of the forest authority the place was supposed to be converted into a wildlife park as the wildlife corridor here joins the corridors of North and South India. We hope the Sawantwadi- Dodamarg area is declared an eco sensitive zone by the court," said Jayendra Parulekar, an environmentalist from Sindhudurg.
Adult flying snakes measuring up to 1.75 m have smooth and glossy scales. They are black in colour with yellow or white cross bands and speckles and red rosettes on the back. They are mainly found in forested hills of the Southwest, forests of Northeast India and Orissa. They usually prefer large trees and thick forests.