Odisha YouTuber Held For Keeping Snakes Illegally & Posting Rescue Videos

Bhadrak: The Wildlife Wing of the Forest department has arrested a YouTuber from Bhadrak for allegedly possessing two snakes and sharing the rescue videos of the reptile on internet in violation of Wildlife Protection Act – 1972.

The accused has been identified as Mirza Md Arif, a resident of Kajimahala area of Purnunabazar in Bhadark.

He was found with two monocled cobras, a scheduled species protected under Wildlife Protection Act, during the raid by Bhadrak wildlife division. He also used to post rescue videos of snake and other wildlife species on social media platforms and these attracted lakhs and crores of views on YouTube. Arif has over 2.82 million followers on YouTube and 1.44 lakh on Facebook, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) and Chief Wildlife Warden Susanta Nanda said through a post on X.

According to an order issued by state government on March 15, people posting selfies, photographs and other such materials with scheduled wildlife species, their body parts or trophies amounts to violation of the Wildlife Protection Act and is a punishable offence with imprisonment up to seven years.

Nanda said the accused had earlier given an undertaking to the Forest department to abide by the guidelines issued for the snake handlers by the Wildlife Wing, and delete all the posts uploaded on social media. However, he did not comply with the rule.

The Forest department has asked the social media platforms concerned to suspend his account, he added.

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