In response to an increase in snake sightings throughout Delhi as floodwaters recede, the government has established a rapid response team to effectively address the situation.
This initiative marks the first time such a team has been formed, underscoring the severity of the recent flooding, which caused the swollen Yamuna River to penetrate deeper into the city than it has in over four decades, said an official.
The Environment Minister, Gopal Rai, said that the rapid response team will be operational in all districts affected by the floods, ensuring comprehensive coverage in handling snake-related concerns.
Gopal Rai said to facilitate immediate assistance and streamline the reporting of snake incidents, the forest department has introduced a dedicated helpline number: 1800118600.
Minister Rai emphasised the importance of remaining calm and cautioned the public against causing harm to the snakes.
According to officials, the multiple reports have surfaced in recent days regarding snakes emerging from houses, posing a risk to residents.
They said that furthermore, concerns have been raised about snake encounters near flood relief camps.
Recognising the urgency of the situation, the forest department has already rescued over 25 snakes from areas surrounding the Old Railway Bridge and safely released them in the Asola Bhatti Wildlife Sanctuary, they added.
Delhi’s chief wildlife warden, Suneesh Buxy, explained that snakes and other reptiles seek dry areas when their natural habitats are inundated by flood or rainwater. While most of the encountered snakes have been non-venomous species, some cobras and kraits have also been found.
In their efforts, the forest department is receiving assistance from the non-governmental organization Wildlife SOS, according to Buxy. (With inputs from PTI)