Following the rescue of three snakes from two snake charmers and an alleged three-hour wait for the wildlife inspectors to arrive at the spot, a Delhi court directed the Delhi government to ensure that proper staff and equipment are made available to Wildlife Department officials.
“In view of the submissions, let copy of order be sent to Secretary Environment, GNCTD, with directions to ensure proper staff and equipment is made available to the officials of Wildlife department in compliance with directions of the Hon’ble NGT and report be filed with the court within two months,” the order read.
While moving an application under Section 50(4) of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, requesting to send the two snake charmers to 14-day judicial custody, the counsel in the case, Aditya N Prasad, informed the court that the “wildlife department under the Delhi government is understaffed… apart from two wildlife inspectors, no other official/staff are available to trace and protect wildlife in Delhi”.
Associate professor at the College of Vocational Studies, Sonya Ghosh, had apprehended two snake charmers near Apollo hospital on Monday. The two accused were in possession of an Indian Cobra and a Dhaman/Rat snake covered under Part-2 Schedule-II of Wildlife Protection Act, and a Sand Boa covered under Schedule-IV of the Act.
“The Indian Cobra and the Rat snake are comparatively rare, while the Sand Boa is commonly found in Vasant Kunj. These snakes were taken out of their natural habitat; this amounts to hunting as well. It took me three hours to get wildlife officials to reach the spot,” Ghosh said.
The wildlife department did not respond to calls and messages.
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