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Its Ssssssnake time folks!

Activists launch drive to save wildlife’s habitats

NAVI MUMBAI: A live cobra surfaced in a residential society compound at Nerul recently giving rise to concern over safety of children playing in the area.

“It is not uncommon for snakes to surface particularly during their breeding time and the reptiles look for safe zones to lay eggs,” said Ulhas Thakur of Indian Herpetological Society.

Thakur, a resident of Nerul, said he gets frequent calls during the monsoon. But of late his phone started ringing in summer as well with people calling about snakes in their areas. “Recently, we saved a python in Nerul,” he said.

The residents of Anandvan Society of Nerul’s sector-4 got panicky when they found a snake crawling in their compound. They quickly called in the snake catchers. “The society has the details of Friends of Snakes (Sarp Mitra) as we come across serpents quite often,” said a resident.

Asked for the reasons for snakes creeping into residential areas, Thakur said “they come out because we have destroyed their habitat”.Earlier snakes used to be part of the wildlife in the forests on the Parsik Hills. These have been destroyed by reckless quarrying. “Even the blasting of the hills scares away the snakes,” he explained.

Nandakumar Pawar, director of environment NGO Shri Ekavira Aai Pratishtan (SEAP) pointed out that another natural habitat of snakes and rats, the mangroves, are being systematically destroyed around MMR. The dumping of debris along the coastline has been going on so rampantly that mangroves will soon be relegated to history books, he said.

The surfacing of snakes has also brought into sharp focus the recent social communication campaign #BoomCityDoomCity undertaken by the communication professionals body Public Relations Council of India (PRCI) to save hills and mangroves in Mumbai Metropolitan Region.

“The campaign is to remind the people that we should not play with the nature. The affects will be disastrous,” said PRCI governing council chairman B N Kumar.

World Environment Day will be observed on June 5 and PRCI plans to do aggressive campaign to spread awareness about maintaining ecological balance.