Showers around the city over the last 10 days have led to all sorts of crawlies, especially snakes, coming out of their hiding holes for breeding, giving citizens a good scare.
But snake catchers have probably never had as many surprises and as much variety at work.
A team of seven animal saviors, who call themselves Animal Rescue Team (ART), has, since this non-seasonal downpour began, caught more than 50 snakes in the city. On Tuesday evening, they released the serpents in their natural habitat in the presence of the forest department officials.
Ravi Lohire, founder member of the group, said, “The seven of us came together two years ago and formed this group ART to rescue any type of animal. Our twin aims are the safety of people and of the animals being rescued.”
Lohire, who works at Chakan Rural Hospital, learnt snake-catching techniques from his father.
Recalling his grapple with the unwelcome guests at urban houses, he said, “In the last 10 days our members have caught more than 50 snakes and one owl from different parts of the city such as Chinchwad, Akurdi, Bhosari, Yerawada, Vishrantwadi, Sanghvi and so on. We also provide antivenom free of cost in cases of snake bites. Till now we have saved more than 500 lives from snake poisoning.”
Another member of the group, Hari Reddy, who manages a gym, said, “It’s a risky business catching snakes in housing societies, or in city areas. People panic a lot and make it difficult for us to rescue the creature.” He added, “One has to learn catching snakes on their own. There is no institute that trains people for this. We’d like the government to start a course.”
After catching the snakes, the group gives the invertebrates medical aid if needed. They are then taken to the forest department office in Shukrawar Peth, where officials check the animals and give them a release letter. They are then taken to the outskirts of the city and released.
Kudos to the team
M P Bhavsar, Pune range forest officer, said, “These group members are doing a brilliant job of creating awareness and rescuing animals. People used to beat snakes emerging around their houses to death. Now with such rescuers, many animals are spared their lives and returned to nature. It is a thankless job, but they are still doing for the society.”
A wide assortment
In last 10 days, ART has caught species such as Naga, Dhaman, Gohra, Taskar, banded racer and Russell viper.