Wildlife & Biodiversity

Global Eco Watch: Venomous snakes easy to procure as pets in the UK, finds study

Down To Earth brings you the top happenings in the world of global ecology

 
By DTE Staff
Last Updated: Monday 23 March 2020
A gaboon viper. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
A gaboon viper. Photo: Wikimedia Commons A gaboon viper. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

An investigation has revealed that highly venomous snakes including cobras and vipers are being easily sold off as pets in the United Kingdom due to a legal loophole that allows this to happen.

An investigation by the journal Vet Record found that species such as king cobras, pit vipers, rattle snakes and gaboon vipers were being sold by shops to collectors legally, according to a media report.

Under the Dangerous Wild Animals Act of the UK, it is legal to sell dangerous animals as pets to people who do not have a license to keep them.

The responsibility for the animals is transferred to the new owners by the law and they are expected to register with their local councils.

But licenses under the Act can be issued retrospectively by councils, enabling collectors to obtain venomous snakes before they become licensed.

Hubballi-Ankola track okayed

The Karnataka government has given its nod to the Hubballi-Ankola link project, despite concerns that it will damage biodiversity in the region where it is to be built.

The 168-km project, that is worth Rs 3,749 crore will require the felling of 1.78 lakh trees in the Western Ghats section of Uttara Kannada district, according to a media report.

The decision was taken at the meeting of the state wildlife board on March 20, 2020. Out of 13 members, only five were present, along with many non-members.

The project will now be taken up by the National Board for Wildlife headed by the Prime Minister. Work will start on it once if approval is given.  

Mass nesting of Olive Ridleys starts at Gahirmatha

The mass nesting of Olive Ridley sea turtles started at Odisha’s Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary in Kendrapara district on March 14, 2020. The sanctuary is considered to be the world’s largest rookery of sea turtles.

Nearly 15,000 sea turtles came ashore at Nasi-1 and Nasi-2 islands for arribada, a Spanish term for mass nesting, said Bikash Ranjan Dash, divisional forest officer (DFO), Bhitarkanika National Park.

“In 2019, around 4.70 lakh sea turtles nested between February 26 and March 7. Untimely rain and bad weather delayed the process this year,” he added.

The turtles, which had already congregated in the sea near Gahirmatha beach, came ashore for nesting in groups of 2,000 to 4,000 each.

The turtle eggs normally take 45 days to hatch. After this, tiny hatchlings come out and make their way to the sea, said Dash. He added that arribada would continue for a week.

About 30 forest officials, including forest guards, are now looking after the nesting beach and the sea to protect the turtles.

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