Woman Claims to Have Killed 25 Snakes in Viral Video from Assam’s Majuli

Lack of Awareness and Funding Contribute to Neglect of Snake Conservation Efforts, Says Herpetologist.
Woman Claims to Have Killed 25 Snakes in Viral Video from Assam’s Majuli
Woman Claims to Have Killed 25 Snakes in Viral Video from Assam’s Majuli
Prasenjit Deb

In a viral video originating from Assam's Majuli, a woman wielding a machete asserted her prowess in snake handling, claiming to have dispatched approximately 25 snakes, both venomous and non-venomous, throughout her life.

"I don't fear any snake. In my village, everyone calls me when there is a snake in their residences," she confidently declared in the video. "If you don't disturb a snake, it will go on its own way. But the snake on prowl will attack you when you disturb them. They react instantly."

The woman recounted an incident where she killed a snake for consumption, only to encounter another which met the same fate at her hands.

The video sparked a debate, with some questioning the efficacy of local NGOs in addressing wildlife issues in remote regions, where snakes are sometimes hunted and consumed in violation of forest regulations.

Responding to the incident, Jayaditya Purkayastha, from the Department of Herpetology at Help Earth (NGO), acknowledged a lapse in raising awareness about snakes.

"I take the moral responsibility that we did not do as much awareness regarding snakes as needed, and thus such incidents occur," Purkayastha admitted. "In our societal traditional beliefs, in every scripture in all the religions, snakes are being portrayed as negative forces."

Purkayastha emphasized the lack of a comprehensive management plan for snakebite mitigation in India, attributing it to limited budgets and insufficient funding for research.

"Our country lacks emphasis on snake bite due to limited budget and no funding for research work," he explained. "Thus, for NGOs conducting awareness, resources are also limited."

He further highlighted the disparity in conservation efforts, noting, "In Assam, people don't care about snakes; they give priority to animals like Rhino, Tiger, Elephant, Leopard, etc. Thus, research on snakes is very precise and neglected."

Purkayastha concluded by pointing out the dearth of awareness about snakes' ecological importance, stressing the need for education and conservation efforts.

"This is a cumulative failure of the developed society as a whole," he remarked. "Snakes fall under schedule-I species, like Tiger, however, people are more aware of consequences in killing a Tiger, but not snakes."

He urged for increased efforts in snake conservation, lamenting the absence of a comprehensive census on snakes and their species, even in prominent national parks like Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve.

Woman Claims to Have Killed 25 Snakes in Viral Video from Assam’s Majuli
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