Snake threat to PM Modi..Special team deployed at Red Fort

New Delhi: To ensure there are no reptiles at Red Fort during the 71st Independence Day celebrations, Delhi Police has asked an animal welfare organisation to keep special vigil. The police asked Wildlife SOS to station a team to assist them with the security arrangements after it spotted several snakes and monitor lizards in parks and the moat area in and around Red Fort during the recent anti-sabotage checks.

"A team of about four-to-five animal experts will be stationed around Red Fort to assist the security personnel. The main threats are snakes and monitor lizards," an official from Wildlife SOS told IANS.

If found in or around Red Fort, the reptiles will be shifted carefully to ensure public safety and restored to their familiar surroundings after the August 15 celebrations are over.

The Widlife SOS said its teams were already scanning the area as a safety precaution. 

During monsoon, wild animals including snakes, monitor lizards, civets, nilgai and others are often spotted in Delhi. Recently, a snake was seen in Delhi's Legislative Assembly premises.

Delhi is home to about 13 species of snakes, of which only two -- the common cobra and common krait -- are venomous. The others include Royal Snake, Wolf Snake, Rat Snake, Common Sand Boa, Red Sand Boa, Common Kukri, Cat Snake, Rock Python, Bronze Back Tree Snake, Leiths Sand Snake, and Checkered Keelback.

Every month, some 200 to 300 incidents of snake spotting are reported in Delhi, while about 2,400 to 3,000 snakes are rescued in the city every year.

Places from where serpents have been rescued by the Wildlife SOS include 7, Race Course Road, the Prime Minister's official residence, and Rashtrapati Bhawan.

"Wildlife SOS has been working closely with the Forest Department and Delhi Police to address wildlife issues in Delhi. Snake bite are a concern and we shall deploy our teams in the interest of public safety," Kartick Satyanarayan, Co-Founder of Wildlife SOS, said. 

He urged the people not to engage with snakes if they spot one and rather call 91-9871963535 after which Wildife SOS officials will reach for help.