Mumbai, Jan 16, 2017: When “Kaa” the hypnotic, yellowish Indian Rock Python hisses and casts a spell on Mowgli in “The Jungle Book”, it’s a hair-raising experience for the audience. In real life though, the python faces a serious existential threat, but a nationwide initiative called “Living with Pythons” by Goa-based herpetologist and wildlife photographer Nirmal Kulkarni could change things significantly.
Kulkarni is embarked on creating awareness about and instilling appreciation for India’s three main python species — the Indian Rock Python (Python molurus), Burmese Python (Python bivittatus) and Reticulated Python (Malayopython reticulatus).
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Kulkarni says the Indian Rock Python, the species found in Goa and across the Indian mainland commonly, has been now accepted as threatened due to human-reptile conflict and habitat loss.
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Kulkarni’s initiative seeks to promote “acceptance, awareness and understanding about these python species through conservation outreach and field-based herpetology techniques”.
It aims to achieve these objectives through on-field discussions, engagements with communities, youth and Forest Department personnel.
“This project will also contribute to creating awareness on the issue of human-snake conflicts that are key to python survival in human dominated rural and urban landscapes,” he says.
As part of the effort, Kulkarni says a specific target group of reptile enthusiasts and amateur snake handlers and rescuers in the states of Goa, Karnataka and Maharashtra will be sensitised on these ecologically important species.
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A common protocol for python rescue and release is also being offered to reduce the reptile-human conflict.
The initiative proposes to address a need for a common protocol for Python rescue and release, as it will help minimise and address issues relating to reptile-human conflict and “provide vital answers to this growing challenge, especially in urban India”. (IANS)