Monday, May 23, 2011

The snake catcher of Digboi - Zoology lecturer masters dangerous yet thrilling skill

Dibrugarh, May 20: A lecturer of zoology at Digboi College in Upper Assam’s Tinsukia district is in great demand these days, not for private tuition, but for his mastery over a special yet dangerous skill — catching snakes with his bare hands.
Rajib Rudra Tariang, 37, has become so popular that he has even been invited by the Digboi forest division to train its personnel on the art of catching snakes and then releasing them in the wild.
He had accidentally discovered his skill in 2005, when he came upon some boys trying to kill a snake in Segunbari area in Margherita while he was on his way back from Margherita College, where he used to teach earlier.
“The boys were about to kill the snake when I managed to catch and rescue it. It was a non-poisonous 1.5-feet khukri snake. I immediately emptied my water bottle and put the snake inside it, and brought it to the college lab. Next day, after some study, the snake was released. The incident took place in 2005,” he said.
Tariang, who joined Digboi College in 2008, was a naturalist since his childhood. In his early years, when many boys of his age loved to chase or kill snakes, he found such scenes painful.
Tariang’s area of research is butterfly diversity in and around Jokai reserve forest in Dibrugarh district, which he is carrying out under the guidance of Deepsikha Bora of the department of life science, Dibrugarh University.
“Whenever I go to Jokai for research-related work or to any other forest area, I come across a lot of snakes. These snakes are very important for maintaining the ecological balance of our world. Many people do not realise that most snakes are non-poisonous. We kill them just out of false fear and panic,” the lecturer said.
Tariang, who can now catch any kind of snake and of any length, said it is all about self-confidence, which is the most important criteria for catching and handling snakes. “Apart from my classroom lectures, over the years I have always tried to teach students about snakes and their importance. Many enthusiastic students come forward to learn the trick and it gives me great pleasure to teach them,” he said.
He has also managed to create a small team for himself, which includes Gauri Buragohain, his colleague from the department of English of Digboi College. The team rushes to any nearby locality whenever a snake is spotted there.
“Recently, I got a call from the divisional forest officer of Digboi division, P. Siva Kumar, requesting me to teach him as well as his forest staff the trick to catch snakes. It was a very good experience as the staff learned the trick to handle snakes,” he said.
He, however, still regrets the fact that he had to lose one of his closest aides, Mithun Chakravarty, of Margherita who succumbed to snakebite while attempting to catch a poisonous snake almost a year ago.
“This is why I have said that self-confidence is the main criteria while handling snakes,” he said.
Tariang also advocated that strict measures be initiated against those who illegally captured and killed snakes.

Full Story

No comments:

Post a Comment