Wildlife Expert Moves Police Against Odisha Man For Painting Cobra With White Colour & Presenting It As Albino

Bhubaneswar: Noted wildlife expert Subhendu Mallik on Tuesday approached the police for action against a man accusing him of painting a Spectacled Cobra with white colour enamel to present it as an albino.

Describing the incident as a novel wildlife crime, Mallik has sent an email to the Additional Director General of Police, Odisha Crime Branch claiming that colouring of the snake was done by Ajay Kumar Das of Nandapur village under Ranapur block in Nayagarh district.

Mallik, Honorary Wildlife Warden of Khurda district and General Secretary of Snake Helpline, said the sole purpose of painting  the cobra was to be in the limelight in media and upload its video on social media and gather likes and views for the photo & video. The painted cobra was reported as an albino/white cobra in media, he said.

Stating that the Spectacled Cobra is a Schedule-I snake under Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 after a new amendment, he said the cobra reported as albino in the media had shown abnormal behaviour after release and was unable to move.

The photograph of the cobra clearly shows enamel white paint all over the body and the ventral scale lines are not visible at all.  Instead, the belly portion shows a continuous layer of paint, said Mallik, who attached collage photo of the whitepainted cobra and Leucistic cobra (available online) for comparison. It shows it’s a fake albino/leucistic.

Mallik said the cobra will face serious difficulty for survival as the ventral scales are painted with enamel paint. The snake will find it dificult to crawl using the scales and its movement is restricted. The cobra will easily be seen by its prey due to the bright white colour and will face problems capturing prey, he said, adding that the enamel coating will raise its body temperature, which will be highly detrimental to the cobra in the ongoing heatwave.

The paint will also show toxic effects sooner or later and the biggest problem lies with environmental contamination, he said.

Mallik further stated that Ajay Kumar Das was earlier working as a volunteer at Snake Helpline but got expelled in July 2020 for violating the protocol of the organisation.

“I, therefore, request your good office to please investigate the matter and take suitable actions. Such activity should be dealt with seriously so that no others can dare to repeat this feat in future,” Mallik said.

He has also forwarded copies to the PCCF (WL) and Additional Director, WCCB.

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