| 16ft python at Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary. Telegraph picture |
Kendrapara, April 29: People of a village near the Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary recently saved a python.
They, in an animal-friendly gesture, caught it alive without causing slightest harm to the 16ft long snake. The residents of Shilaspokhari village later handed over the “prize catch” to the forest personnel.
“It’s indeed refreshing to note that the villagers inflicted no physical injury to the 16feet long python after catching it alive. It’s an endangered species accorded protection under schedule-1 of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. The reptile strayed into the village after being washed ashore during high tides. The emergence of the gigantic snake must have terrified them. Still they got the better of panic and informed the forest officials. Wildlife officials rushed to the village to take custody of the snake. Later, it was released into the wild,” said Manoj Kumar Mahapatra, divisional forest officer of the Rajnagar Mangrove (Wildlife) Forest Division.
“We spotted the python while chasing a goat near the Patsala riverbed in the village. It was visibly tired. The predating reptile stopped chasing its catch after people had spotted it and raised a hue and cry. To our utter surprise, the snake did not counter attack us in self-defence and meekly surrendered,” said Alekh Swain, a 35-year-old local youth.
The python stayed motionless. It was perhaps tired and exhausted. However, with fear of the python sneaking into village areas staying uppermost in their minds, majority of the villagers argued to kill the lizard.
“However, some of us tried to convince them by saying that “the snake should not be harmed as it has yielded in distress. Moreover, it did not harm us. “Finally after much argument, better sense prevailed. Villagers relented and agreed to hand it over to the forest staff. However, we had to hold it captive with fishing nets and ropes,” he said.
“The python was in good health. We safely released it in the Ajhgarpatia Reserve Forest, an ideal home for such reptiles,” said Durga Prasad Sahu, forest range officer.