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Two-headed protected snake rescued in Noida, two smugglers held

fficials said they informed a local auto driver about two suspicious-looking men waiting under the Sector 51 Metro station with a cloth bag and two monkeys. Upon reaching the spot, they checked the two men and found two monkeys as well as a snake being carried in a cloth bag.

noida Updated: Apr 17, 2019 16:09 IST
Snehil Sinha
Snehil Sinha
Hindustan Times, Noida
two headed snake rescued in noida,red sand boa,noida
Forest department officers said as of now, the snake has been kept in a box filled with sand to mimic its natural habitat.(HT Photo )

The police and forest department team on Tuesday rescued a Red Sand Boa (Eryx johnii), also called the two-headed snake, from two smugglers who were allegedly waiting to sell off the snake.

Officials said they informed a local auto driver about two suspicious-looking men waiting under the Sector 51 Metro station with a cloth bag and two monkeys. Upon reaching the spot, they checked the two men and found two monkeys as well as a snake being carried in a cloth bag.

The two suspects, identified as Ajay and Lakhadnath, are residents of Modband in Delhi. Both have been arrested under relevant sections of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.

“Ajay was carrying a cloth bag on his left shoulder with the snake in it. Both suspects had no proof of any kind related to wildlife. While investigation is on, the suspects seemed to be waiting for someone to strike some sort of deal or were just asking for money as snake charmers. This species of snakes is known to be worth lakhs of rupees in the illegal wildlife market,” P K Srivastava, divisional forest officer, said.

He said the snake has been kept in a box filled with sand to mimic its natural habitat.

Officials added that it seems to be a healthy three-feet-long snake. The weight, gender and other details will be available after a thorough health check-up on Thursday, following which it will be released in the wild.

The two monkeys will also be released in the wild soon. The state wildlife department has been informed.

The Red Sand Boa (Eryx johnii) is a non-venomous species commonly found in Iran, Pakistan, and India.

It is classified as “near threatened” under the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) categories and is protected under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.

These snakes are known for their blunt rounded tail, which often gives the appearance of the animal being double-headed. Experts say this characteristic has made them the object of myths and superstitions.

“Such blind faith has resulted in exposing the species to threats and danger, despite being a protected species. Capturing snakes for the purpose of entertainment or display is a punishable offence. It is essential to spread awareness regarding the illegal nature of this practice in order to curb poaching,” Kartick Satyanarayan, co-founder and chief executive officer of Wildlife SOS, a non-government organisation working for conservation of wildlife in the country, said.

First Published: Apr 17, 2019 16:09 IST