Sunday, October 30, 2011
The Business of Snake Charming
What should a person do when she sights a snake? Who should she turn to for help? These questions remain unanswered as there is no system in place to handle such a situation. It was evident on Friday too when a snake appeared on a busy stretch holding up the traffic for more than an hour.
The city has no official snake handlers and the people are left at the mercy of private snake charmers who try to make a fortune out of every rescue call. Depending on the size and specie of the snake, charmers charge anything between Rs. 3,000 and Rs. 10,000. Even authorities at the Coimbatore Corporation's Zoo have to rely on private snake charmers in case of emergencies.
District Forest Officer V. Thirunavukkarasu said Sadiq from the Nilgiris, a snake handler who has the expertise of even catching King Cobras has come forward to offer training in snake handling to field staff of the Forest Department.
The training programme will be held in November. The objective is to have 30 to 40 professional snake handlers available in all the six ranges of the Forest Department.
. At present, the department was making use of the services of five trained volunteers who are part of nature conservation groups and NGOs.
He said people can call the District Forest Office at 0422-2456911 when they sight a snake.
Earlier, the Tamil Nadu Fire and Rescue Services Department had fire and rescue men who were trained in handling snakes. At present, Coimbatore has four firemen with skills in handling snakes. People can call fire control room at 101. Though Firemen used to be trained at State Fire Service Headquarters in snake handling, it is not being done in the last couple of years, it is reliably learnt.