Thursday, 17 December 2009

Snakes alive in Goa!

The tourist season is in full swing in Goa and, with Christmas just around the corner, Goa plays host to thousands of visitors, Indian and foreign alike. All these people come to enjoy the sun, sea and sand, but sadly tourists are also likely to face a rather dismal side to Goa. Animals are used as entertainment to amuse tourists and, although the issue of animal welfare is penetrating deeper into the minds of many people, there are still those who cannot resist the temptation of having their photo taken with an elephant or a snake.

CobraOn Sunday three snakes - two cobras and a sand boa - were brought to Animal Tracks for observation and treatment. They were rescued by a member of staff who caught a snake charmer on Candolim Beach when she was on her way home. This was not the snake charmer's first offence - he has been caught before - but because the law is not enforced by the local authorities he is no danger of facing prosecution and is therefore free to continue this horrible trade.

In most cases the snakes that are brought in are half dead from starvation and septicaemia contracted when their fangs are brutally pulled out to protect the charmer. In this case however the snakes were in a relatively good condition and chances are they can be released when they have been observed for a little while.

I get really upset when I see these poor creatures come in. I'm terrified of the snakes, don't get me wrong, and I don't go anywhere near them, but I can almost feel their pain when I watch them being examined and I see they have no fangs and sometimes also wounds on their bodies after being beaten by the charmers.

I truly hope these snakes can be released soon so they can go back to the life they are meant to lead - free and happy in the jungle.

Lots of Christmas wishes from