Indian wildlife campaigns have rescued some 33 endangered serpents from phoney snake chambers from the country’s most famous landmark, the Taj Mahal.
The snakes, which were mostly cobras, were being used by poachers pretending to be traditional snake charmers in a scheme designed to dupe tourists into parting with their money.
The rescued snakes had had their venom glands gouged out and their fangs broken off to make them harmless, with the mouths of the non-venomous rat snakes having being stitched up.
Working in conjunction with both the police and forestry departments, Wildlife SOS were able to seized a total of 27 cobras, four rat snakes, a red sand boa and a python.
Poaching snakes from the wild for use as public entertainment was outlawed over 40 years ago in India.
The snakes are currently undergoing a number of medical checks before they can be released back into the world, according to Dr Ilayaraga S, one of Wildlife SOS’s senior veterinarian, who said “The fangs of the cobras had been broken and their venom glands gouged out, while the mouths of the other snakes had been stitched.”
“It was a very complicated operation as we had to carry out the delicate process of removing the stitches from the reptiles’ mouths, and checking for infections or other injuries.”
“Awareness regarding the illegality of the offense and the abominable treatment of these animals is incredibly important to curb cruelty and poaching of wildlife.” co-founder of Wildlife SOS, Geeta Seshamani, added.