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Mortal enemies cobra, jackal ally to beat death

Updated on: 16 May,2023 07:54 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Ranjeet Jadhav |

Both released into the wild after an on-site health assessment

Mortal enemies cobra, jackal ally to beat death

Both were rescued after a 2-hour-long operation

The Maharashtra forest department and volunteers of the Wildlife SOS non-profit organisation recently undertook a daring operation to rescue a spectacled cobra and a golden jackal that were trapped together in a 25-foot-deep dry well. The incident took place last week in Rajuri village of Junnar taluka.

The villagers who were surprised to see a snake and jackal trapped together, promptly alerted the forest department. This is due to years of education and sensitisation on such kinds of situations. The Wildlife SOS team was roped in by the forest department to help with the rescue, due to the urgency of the situation. The rescuers carefully evaluated the situation before lowering a net to pull the jackal out of the well. One of the Wildlife SOS volunteers then descended down the well to successfully remove the nearly 5-foot-long cobra.

Dr Akhilesh Dhage, veterinary officer, Wildlife SOS, said, “Witnessing the snake and jackal coexisting in that temporary environment was an incredibly rare sight. We carried out an on-site health assessment and determined that both animals were fit for release. While the jackal—an approximately two-year-old male—was released on the spot, the snake was released at a short distance away from the original rescue location.” According to Dr Dhage, the cobra and the jackal were released only after assessing a suitable habitat, following an arduous two-hour-long rescue operation.

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Snake expert and Wildlife SOS director (conservation projects), Baiju Raj MV called the situation unique as normally in the wild “these two would typically act as mortal enemies”. “The jackal would face certain death from the cobra’s bite. However, against their natural instincts, they formed an unexpected alliance. Both seemed to understand the danger they were in, leading to an unspoken agreement to not harm each other,” he said.

Open wells on agricultural farms and areas near wildlife sanctuaries and national parks pose a huge threat to wildlife. According to Kartick Satyanarayan, co-founder and CEO, Wildlife SOS, an estimated 8.7 million open wells are present in India, ranging in size from 2 metres to 20 metres in diameter, and 1 metre to 70 metres in depth.

“Most wells do not have any sort of lid or barrier walls to prevent animals from falling in… nor do they provide any form of escape for animals that end up falling in. This is why the Wildlife SOS Open Wells Conservation Project aims to cover 40 wells in Maharashtra, deemed to pose a risk to wildlife,” said Satyanarayan.

8.7 mn
No of open wells that pose a threat to wildlife

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