Finding livelihood for snake charmers

Finding livelihood for snake charmers
Highlights

Finding Livelihood For Snake Charmers. Snake charmers used to be a fixture at Indian markets and festivals, beguiling crowds with their ability to control some of the world\'s most venomous reptiles.

Snake charmers used to be a fixture at Indian markets and festivals, beguiling crowds with their ability to control some of the world's most venomous reptiles. The charmers play music and appear to master the reptile.

However, today it's not easy to find a snake charmer even on Naga Panchami, the yearly religious festival in honour of the King Cobra, which falls on August 1.

Wildlife activists with the help of government want to turn these charmers to snake rescuers. They feel that instead of performing at festivals, the snake charmers can be called in to remove venomous snakes from city and suburban gardens and return them to the wild.

According to research by Bahar Dutt for the Centre for Environment Education, the snake charmer community is characterised by high levels of indigenous knowledge about wild animals and low levels of formal education, and has low chances of being absorbed in other occupations where there is heavy competition. Dutt suggests that these snake charmers can be employed as ‘barefoot conservation educators’ and recognition of their indigenous knowledge will not only protect their culture and identity but also assist in the protection of thousands of snakes killed by ignorant people.

The government apathy to conservation and lack of provision of alternative livelihood options for poverty struck snake charmers has resulted in the defilement of the vibrant Indian vision.

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