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International Animal Rescue Saving animals from suffering around the world

Snake raid in Anjuna

Cobra with fangs torn outInternational Animal Rescue and the Green Cross of Goa regularly carry out surprise raids at Anjuna market in Northern Goa. The object is to seize as many cobras from the snake charmers as possible. Snake charmers are illegal in India but they are still all too common.

The charmers convince the tourists that they are putting their lives at risk as the Cobras are venomous. The truth is that the charmers get the Cobra’s to strike and bite onto a piece of rough cloth which is then roughly yanked out of the snakes mouth. This tears the fangs from the snakes mouth and will cause the snake severe pain. One of the snakes rescued from Anjuna needed veterinary treatment at our clinic to remove an abscess from the snakes mouth. Other species used by the charmers include Pythons. The charmers usually sew the lips of the Python together to avoid being bitten! The snake is never fed from the day it is caught in the wild to the day it dies of malnutrition. Some of the snakes we rescued were hardly able to move!

One of 15 snakes seized in the raidThe Green Cross are able to rehabilitate the majority of Cobras as their fangs will eventually grow back and they can be released. The less fortunate snakes have had their venom sacks removed and these can never be returned to the wild as they will never be able to kill prey. IAR’s support for the Green Cross goes back many years. Sunil Korajkar and Nirmal Kulkarni have been putting their life on the line to save Indian wildlife from all forms of abuse. They both confront snake charmers and other animal abusers on a regular basis and Sunil was recently bitten by a Cobra through the sack where he had placed the animal. Our support to date has been by donating money to help them keep up their non stop rescue efforts. In 1999 the Green Cross saved 19 species of Snake including 93 Cobras. 11 species of mammals, and 15 species of birds. In one year nearly 500 individual animals were rescued and many of these returned to the wild.

The Green Cross also run snake awareness programmes at local schools and Colleges in Goa and are involved in several in depth investigations of animal abuse from the "bush meat" trade to patrolling sites of scientific interest to prevent poaching.

IAR would very much like to provide a shelter to be used as a snake rehabilitation unit by the Green Cross. The centre needs to be secure as the snakes are dangerous and ideally should be situated on its own land. If you would like to make a contribution to this cause please make your donation to IAR’s Fighting Fund and become an IAR Supporter.