After receiving a complaint from PETA India, Raipur forest department has registered a preliminary offence report (POR) against a snake charmer for illegal possession, exhibition, and use of a protected cobra. Cobras are protected under Part C of Schedule I of the Wild Life (Protection) Act (WPA), 1972, and capturing, possessing, or injuring them is a serious, non-bailable, punishable offence with a jail term of at least three years that may extend to seven years and a fine of at least Rs 25,000. Yet snakes are often captured in bags and kept in tiny boxes, their fangs are yanked out, and they are fed unsuitable food for the species, such as cows’ milk, to entertain people and feed into public superstitions.
Snakes are trapped and taken from their natural habitats by snake charmers, disregarding the WPA, 1972. Before they are taken, their teeth are often violently yanked out, their venom glands are emptied by painfully squeezing the muscles on their heads, and in many cases, their mouths are sewn shut, leaving a little gap to pour water or milk. And the “dance” that snakes perform is actually a fearful reaction to the charmer’s pipe, which the animals perceive as a threat. None of the captured snakes live very long, and death comes slowly and painfully.
Snakes are fascinating animals who can learn and communicate through body language. Pythons protect their young, while king Cobras make a nest for their eggs. Rather than exploring lush jungles and swamps and living life as they want to, captive snakes are typically relegated to small, dark boxes or tanks where they can’t even stretch out to full length.
You Can Help
- Discourage your friends and family from supporting animal shows.
- If possible, take photographs of any animal acts that you see and immediately report the illegal use of animals protected under the WPA, 1972, to the police and your state’s forest department. Their contact details can be found via their official state websites.
- Call PETA India’s emergency number, 9820122602, or a local animal-protection group if you need additional help.