Published: Friday, July 26, 2013

Lawachhara Forest

Vehicles killing snakes, daily

This road inside Lawachhara forest in Moulvibazar is used even by heavy vehicles, which often kill animals, mostly snakes, under their wheels. Photo: Star

This road inside Lawachhara forest in Moulvibazar is used even by heavy vehicles, which often kill animals, mostly snakes, under their wheels. Photo: Star

Four to five snakes are crushed to death every day by vehicles plying the Srimangal-Kamalganj road through Lawachhara forest in Moulvibazar, according to a    survey.
The 32 species of snakes in the forest, most of which are rare, will become extinct if preventive measures are not taken immediately, says the survey.
Thus, around 1500 snakes are killed in a year, said snake researcher Shahriar Sijar Mahmud, who conducted the survey.
Fourteen of the species were identified as roadkill, and two of them — banded trinket snakes and iridescent snakes — were spotted in Bangladesh for the first time, he told The Daily Star last month.
The other species found dead include striped keelback or Chinu snake, mock viper or pahari snake, copper-headed trinket or dudhraj and common wolf snake or ghargini snake.
Experts say the ecosystem of the forest will suffer badly if the trend continues, adding that vehicles should not exceed the speed limit of 20 to 30 km per hour when driving along the road.
Whenever a snake is seen crossing the road, the driver must slow down and let them cross the road.
Sylhet Divisional Forest Conservator (Wildlife) Mahbubur Rahman said cautionary signs had already been put up along the road, requesting drivers to go slow, but a more effective solution was to divert the road around the forest.
Lawachhara Range Officer Azharul Islam said the reptiles would be safe if the vehicles using the road drove with extra caution. Making sure the vehicles moved at a low speed became more challenging because of a lack of staff, he added.