The TrickyScribe: Poverty breeds ignorance. Ignorance leads to misdeeds. Here comes a story from Hajipur, a district located along the northern banks of river Ganga adjacent to Bihar capital Patna that indicates otherwise.
At an under-construction hospital in Paswan Chowk locality in Hajipur, not only did a careful and sensitive administration burnt the midnight oil to save an Indian Spectacled Cobra with The TrickyRescuer, a handful construction labourers practiced utter restraint for more than 70 hours by allowing the rescuers to their job without harming the snake. The labourers were stationed there by their respective contractors undertaking the construction of Bihar Healthcare a joint venture of noted eye-specialist Dr Sunil Kumar and filmmaker Prakash Jha.
Ahbar Alam, Shahbaz, Rahul Kumar, Sagar and Bipin, all students of Patna Science College, amongst others were led by Gaurav Narayan, Senior Researcher (Wildlife), The TrickyRescuer. Speaking about the rescued specimen Gaurav said: “The team was informed about the presence of the snake on Saturday when the rescue maneuvers were mounted. The snake was 6’4” long and not less than 10 years of age. It died some 26 to 30 hours without any external interference before the rescue team could reach the place where it was hiding. Recovering a dead snake is not something anybody aspires for. This, however, is the longest specimen recovery reported in this year. The specimen has been taken to the laboratory of Department of Zoology, Patna Science College, for further study by a team of academic and field experts.” HoD, Zoology, Patna Science College, Arvind Kumar expressed his enthusiasm for the recovery and appreciated the team effort. Arvind extended his support in future endeavors.
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Highlighting the characteristics of the recovered species, rescuer Ahbar Alam said: “It varies tremendously in color and pattern throughout its range. Ventral scales or the underside coloration of this species can be grey, yellow, tan, brown, reddish or black. The Indian cobra is a moderately sized, heavy-bodied species. This cobra species can easily be identified by its relatively large and quite impressive hood, which it expands when threatened. Indian cobra inhabits a wide range of habitats throughout its geographical range and can be found in dense or open forests, plains, agricultural lands (rice paddy fields, wheat crops), rocky terrain and wetlands. It can even be found in heavily populated urban areas. The Indian cobra’s venom mainly contains a powerful post-synaptic neurotoxin and cardiotoxin. The venom acts on the synaptic gaps of the nerves, thereby paralyzing muscles, and in severe bites leading to respiratory failure or cardiac arrest. The venom components include enzymes such as hyaluronidase that cause lysis and increase the spread of the venom.”
Elaborating on The TrickyRescuer, its representative Aditya Vaibhav said: “We receive online inputs regarding presence or appearance of snakes in and around human habitations through thetrickyscribe.com. Of which, the ones with venomous snakes reported are to be visited personally for further rescue and eventual release by the rescuers while people are made aware of the harmlessness of snakes concerned in case of non-venomous ones.”
It may be mentioned here that is an online tool that aims at saving human as well as animal lives in case of Man vs Wild conflicts. The prototype of The TrickyRescuer chose to start with snake rescue. The idea is to decimate the death toll. Awareness is a vital tool, in case used properly. Human and snake lives are simultaneously to be saved by this. It has an inbuilt mechanism for first aid and subsequent treatment of human victims, in the case of snakebites. The same project is being expanded so as to include more and more species of wildlife so as to spread its cover to the optimum levels.
POINTS TO PONDER:
- More than half the bites are reported in and around the house. Farming, housework, sleeping, playing and defecating in fields were the activities were reported while being bitten.
- More than half of the snakebites are reported in the foot-ankle region.
- Highest monthly frequency of snakebites is reported between June and September.
- Highest daily frequency occurred between 5 pm and 10 pm. More than 35% of the snake bites are reported in the aforementioned slot.
- Adolescents in the 10-19 year age group are the peak group (more than 25%) for snakebite with a slight preponderance of males (more than half).
- The rate of envenomation is reported slightly over 12%.
- Mortality rate of those envenomed who reached the hospital alive is very less, somewhere close to 6%. Rushing to hospitals saved lives.
- More than 75% of people are unable to identify what, or what type of snake, attacked them. Common Wolf Snakes (Lycodon aulicus), followed by Spectacled Cobra (Naja naja) were the most reported ones attacking humans.
- Cobras were successfully identified while Common Wolf Snakes were incorrectly identified as Kraits.
- Sleeping on the floor increased the risk of envenomation, while using a mosquito net while sleeping decreased the risk of envenomation.