The pink coral kukri (Oligodon kheriensis) is endemic to a small area of the Himalayan tracts of northern India and Nepal; the snake species was first noticed in Uttar Pradesh in India in 1936.For the primary time, the uncommon species was present in Bangladesh on Oct. 27, 2020, whereas locals have been digging soil in a bamboo bush in Panchagarh district; this means an growth of the snake’s distribution vary.In northern Bangladesh, land use patterns have modified, making forests extremely fragmented, indicating that habitat loss, forest degradation and fragmentation are main threats to the species.Experts recommend taking speedy conservation measures within the areas the place the pink coral kukri is discovered by imposing particular measures to cease the destruction of bamboo bushes and forests.
On Jan. 21, as a landlord in Bangladesh’s northern district of Panchagarh was getting a pond dug, clearing a bamboo bush with a excavator, two orange snakes got here slithering out from the disturbed earth. Locals of Sardarpara space of Atwari Upazila killed the 2 snakes instantly, pondering they could be harmful. But these snakes, later recognized as pink coral kukri, are innocent and nonvenomous. This was a uncommon sighting of this species right here.
Later, the excavator operator seen extra such snakes popping out from beneath. He requested the locals to not kill these, as an alternative calling a neighborhood snake rescuer, Shahidul Islam, president of the Bangladesh Wildlife and Snake Rescue Team. He rushed to the spot and rescued six coral kukri snakelets and their mom.
Afterward, Shahidul, regionally often called a buddy of snakes, launched them into the wild.
The uncommon snake was first noticed in Lakhimpur Kheri space of Uttar Pradesh state in India in 1936. Researchers described with the scientific title Oligodon kheriensis. The time period kukri within the snake’s frequent title comes from the kukri, or curved knife, of the Gorkhas, as its enamel are curved just like the blade.
But, in Bangladesh, the pink coral kukri was first discovered lower than solely three years in the past, on Oct. 27, 2020, when locals in Boda Upazila in Panchagarh have been digging soil at a bamboo patch. Since then, the species has typically been noticed in Panchagarh and Thakurgaon districts, each near the Himalayan belt.
“I’ve rescued pink coral kukri snakes greater than 40 occasions from Panchagarh and Thakurgaon districts, though it was not present in Bangladesh earlier than,” Shahidul instructed Mongabay.
Snake rescuer Shahidul Islam with a rescued pink coral kukri. Image courtesy of Shahidul Islam.
Expanding distribution vary
The pink coral kukri, regionally often called kamalavathi in Bangladesh, is a poorly studied snake species worldwide as only a few specimens have been recorded since its first discovery practically 90 years in the past. The snake species is endemic to the Himalayan tracts from northern India and Nepal.
The species has been present in Uttarakhand, Jalpaiguri of West Bengal, Kokrajhar of Assam, and West Garo Hills of Meghalaya in India. The snake was additionally reported in Chitwan National Park in south-central Nepal, Shuklaphanta National Park and Bardiya National Park within the far west, and Jhapa in southeastern Nepal. The presence of the snake lately in Bangladesh is an growth of its distribution vary.
The space the place the current sighting occured in Bangladesh is 20 kilometers (12.4 miles) from the Indian border and 33 km (20.5 mi) from the earlier nearest sighting in Jalpaiguri of West Bengal.
The distribution vary of the pink coral kukri includes totally different habitats, together with savanna, grasslands and Himalayan subtropical broadleaf forests. The areas have a predominantly heat and temperate local weather with dry winters and sizzling summers. All the data have been reported from both forests or villages of the subtropical areas.
All areas of the earlier stories ranged alongside the foothills of the Himalayas. There aren’t any stories of the incidence of O. kheriensis from Indo-Himalayan temperate or alpine areas and tropical areas of India and Bangladesh far aside from the Himalayas, the examine revealed.
“The pink coral kukri is simply discovered 35-40 km [about 19-25 mi] south away from the Himalayan vary, as its temperature and soil are appropriate to its habitat,” mentioned Borhan B. Romon, a co-author of the examine.
The microhabitats of pink coral kukri comprise moist rocky areas close to streams of subtropical forest, forest edges, bushy areas of villages, home premises and croplands. But the snake is generally present in bamboo groves in northern Bangladesh, as its microhabitat is a moist vegetative space coated with leaf litter underneath bamboo patches.
The pink coral kukri is a poorly studied snake species worldwide as only a few specimens have been recorded since its first discovery practically 90 years in the past.
Shahidul mentioned all of the pink coral kukri snakes he rescued have been from bamboo patches or households near bamboo bushes, which means that that’s the most fitted habitat for the orange-colored snake in Bangladesh.
“I rescued the snakes from households after they had come from their dens beneath bamboo bushes seeking meals through the evening,” he mentioned, including that the pink corals like to stay in tender soil beneath bamboo patches.
The snake rescuer mentioned locals in northern Bangladesh are destroying bamboo bushes to create ponds or arable land, forcing the snakes to come back out of their dens after which by accident killed by individuals.
A 2021 technical report discovered habitat degradation as a result of urbanization and agriculture and intentional killing are the principle threats to the species.
The land use sample has modified in northern Bangladesh lately, placing the pink coral kukri in danger.
“The habitats of this uncommon snake are being destroyed as a result of uncontrolled stone lifting, the introduction of tea gardening and cleansing up bamboo bushes there,” mentioned Romon, a Venom Research Center scientist at Chittagong Medical College in Chattogram.
He mentioned that when bamboo bushes are destroyed, the pink coral snakes are compelled to come back out from their dens.
“The snake eats eggs and larvae of termites and ants. Tea gardens have used pesticides, destroying the snake species’ meals. As a outcome, they undergo from the acute meals disaster,” the snake researcher noticed.
Shahidul steered taking speedy conservation measures within the areas the place the pink coral kukri is discovered by imposing particular measures to cease the destruction of bamboo bushes and forests.
Conservation is an pressing want
In India, the pink coral kukri is protected underneath the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972, however there isn’t any conservation measure in Bangladesh or Nepal to guard the uncommon species.
In northern Bangladesh, forests are extremely fragmented and most are solely or partially remoted. Habitat loss, degradation and fragmentation are the most important threats to the species. Romon feared the pink coral snakes may very well be extinct regionally as a result of their fast habitat destruction, though there isn’t any intensive analysis on the species.
The snake is being killed throughout agricultural excavation in Bangladesh. People kill the snakes due to ignorance, as they panic seeing the intense colours.
“While rescuing pink corals, I suffered bites a number of occasions. It didn’t trigger any hurt to me, however individuals are killing the nonvenomous snake species indiscriminately,” Shahidul mentioned.
He steered taking speedy conservation measures within the areas the place the pink coral kukri is discovered by imposing particular measures to cease the destruction of bamboo bushes and forests.
Considering all of the threats to the snake species, the 2021 examine advisable taking some conservation measures for environment friendly safety of the species, saying the pink coral species standing must be assessed globally and regionally, it must be included in nationwide and worldwide laws, and most safety must be given within the current forest of Indo-Himalayan subtropical area.
Conservation approaches must be utilized within the non-forested areas of the Indo-Himalayan subtropical area and, most significantly, native individuals ought to pay attention to conservation efforts to save lots of the species, the examine steered.
Banner picture: The pink coral kukri (Oligodon kheriensis) is endemic to a small area of the Himalayan tracts of northern India and Nepal. Image courtesy of Shahidul Islam.
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Romon, B. B., Chowdhury, M. A. W., & Al Haidar, I. Okay., 2021. First document of the Coral Red Kukri Snake Oligodon kheriensis (Reptilia: Squamata: Colubridae) from Bangladesh. Journal of Asia-PacificBiodiversity. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2287884X21000339
Limbu, Okay., Bhattari, S., Ghosh, A., & Limbu, Okay. P., 2021. Oligodon kheriensis, Coral Red Kukri Snake THE IUCN RED LIST OFTHREATENED SPECIES. International Union for Conservation of Nature. https://www.researchgate.web/publication/357085585_Oligodon_kheriensis_Coral_Red_Kukri_Snake_THE_IUCN_RED_LIST_OF_THREATENED_SPECIES
Animals, Biodiversity, Conservation, Environment, Environmental Law, Herps, Human-wildlife Conflict, Reptiles, Snakes, Wildlife, Wildlife Conservation
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