Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Mar 9:
Odisha Forest department officials with the help of Snake Helpline, a voluntary organization working for peaceful co-habitation with snakes today arrested a person on charges of smuggling snakes and rescued 13 venomous snakes kept in captivity from his possession.
The arrested identified as Prahali Sikari a native of Satasankha area in Puri district had allegedly kept the snakes in captivity for selling them outside the state at high prices, Forest officials said. Prahali was caught in a well laid out trap by Forest department officials with the help of Snake Helpline, they added.
“Life saving drugs are made from venom extracted from snakes. Often people in the illegal venom extraction business buy poisonous snakes from these people to extract venom and sell it to pharmaceutical manufacturers at exorbitant prices. We are trying catch others involved in the racket. We have kept the rescued snakes at our office and are treating them for their injuries by veterinarians. These snakes will be later released in the wild,” said Rabindra Mohapatra, range officer Balipatna Forest Range.
However, Prahali has denied the allegation that he had kept the snakes for trafficking purposes. He claimed that he used to catch poisonous snakes from human habitation and released them in the jungles.