Strengthening Human-Snake Coexistence on World Snake Day 2023
16 July 2023
On World Snake Day (16 July), HEAL organised Snake Awareness and Snakebite Mitigation Programmes in West Bengal’s three districts. ‘Zero Death from Snake Bites’ is one of HEAL’s core projects under our ‘Human-Wildlife Interactions’ program. The objective is to create harmony between humans and snakes by replacing fear with knowledge.
Our Secretary, Suvrajyoti Chatterjee, alongwith Zonal Coordinator Ardhendu Banik, and member Ripan Biswas conducted a program in Pampu Basti village near Rajabhatkhawa in Buxa Tiger Reserve, Alipurduar district. Buxa is endowed with a rich diversity of snakes, though unfortunately it also witnesses unnecessary snake killings out of fear. Our team taught participants how to identify snakes (venomous/less-venomous/non-venomous) and shared essential measures to minimise encounters as well as deal with snakebites, ensuring the safety of both people and snakes.
In Jalpaiguri district, a team led by member Samabesh Biswas carried out a similar program at Looksan Primary Health Centre. They raised awareness about snakes and provided valuable insights on handling snakebites. Informative posters on snake identification were also put up in the health centre. Additionally, in Gazole block of Malda district, our Zonal Coordinator, Jayanta Chakraborty, conducted snake and wildlife awareness and snakebite mitigation sessions in three schools from 14 to 16 July. These programs were organised in the aftermath of the tragic death of a student from snakebite. Also on 16 July, Jayanta and his team assisted the forest department of Malda Division in rescuing a spectacled cobra in Gazole block.
By fostering tolerance and reducing conflict, we hope to contribute in sustaining the well-being of our ecosystems and biodiversity while reducing conflicts on both sides.
HEAL wishes to extend a special thanks to Atanu Banik, Pankaj Roy, Anirban Das, Rahul Dutta and Prakriti Dey, who helped organise our programme in Buxa.