Two techies arrested for raising poisonous snakes as pets

Two techies arrested for raising poisonous snakes as pets

Two software professionals have been arrested for illegally catching snakes and keeping them as pets at their residence in HSR Layout on Saturday.

During a raid conducted by the staff of the CID forest cell and volunteers of the BBMP forest cell, four cobras, two Russells Vipers and a kukri snake were rescued. The snakes were kept in unhygienic condition in plastic containers at the house of the suspects.

The arrested - Roopal Ralph and Subhash - have been booked under Section 9 of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, for hunting these reptiles, which are listed under Schedule II of the said Act. The rescued snakes have been taken to the Bannerghatta Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre.

According to a wildlife volunteer, the accused have a Facebook page called ‘Ameteur snakecatch,’ where the pictures of their ‘operation’ are displayed. It was only through the Facebook page that the volunteers came to know about the illegal activity.

The suspects have been catching snakes in the vicinity of HSR Layout for many years now as the areas are partially developed, with  enough green patches for snakes to live. The suspects have been showing the snakes to the residents and children as fun activity. On questioning the suspects, it was learnt that many cobras have been given away by them to the Bannerghatta zoo.

The suspects have procured snake grab sticks or snake tongs from shopping portals. According to wildlife volunteers, these tools are not freely available in the market, but can be bought online.

The snake tongs are extremely dangerous to the reptiles as they can easily damage the spinal cord of a snake which is very fragile. The suspects have been using these tools on the snakes and have been torturing them, it is said. The investigating officer is yet to find out if the suspects have killed any snakes.

The wildlife protection rules are different for different countries. In India, it is illegal to keep snakes as pets at home. In many countries, people who keep snakes as pets do use these tongs to hold and control the snakes. In India, these tools are not freely available as keeping snakes at home is illegal. The volunteer said that an official complaint is yet to be lodged with the Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (Wildlife), informing him about the incident and requesting him to take measures to stop the online sale of snake tongs.

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