Rescuing snakes, cobras is this forest watcher's passion

A forest watcher has developed a unique interest and love for black cobras in the course of his 26 years’ service in Forest Department. 

Krishnamurthy Hebbar, who is working at the department’s Hosangadi office near Shankaranarayana, has captured 43 most poisonous black cobras and has released them into secured habitats.

Hebbar told Deccan Herald that he has a special interest about snakes, particularly about the black cobras, from his childhood days. “These snakes are most poisonous and play a major role in balancing natural resources. At least one black cobra is found at a distance of 8-10 kilometres on a stretch in the forest. Theses snakes feed on other snakes for survival and rarely harm humans. But their poison is very dangerous and is capable of killing a man within a fraction of seconds after biting him. Even a single bite is sufficient to kill a large bodied elephant. Everyone should be aware of the importance of this species and help the department to conserve the reptile which is found in large numbers in Western Ghats,” he added.

Hebbar joined the Forest Department in 1989. He said he saved 23 cobras and nine pythons in seven years. He has been rescuing snakes more from 2007. He has the credit of securing 16 foot tall black cobra. He also helps the villagers in Hebri, Haladi, Amasebailu, Siddapura and other adjacent villages by rushing to rescue the snakes. He also ensures that the snakes are well protected after they are confined. He releases most of the snakes into Western Ghats after capturing them from different places.

Shankaranarayana zonal forest officer Brijesh Vijay said Hebbar is instrumental is protecting many number of snakes and he is also involved in capturing operation of five leopards that had fallen into wells, he added. The department has felicitated Hebbar in 2014-15 and 2015-16. He has also taken part in workshops organised to create awareness about rescuing snakes.

Hebbar said man has encroached upon forest area and he is the main culprit.

“Wild animals come out of their territory in search of food and shelter. It is indeed necessary to create awareness among people about developing compassion and love for wild creatures,” he added. 

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