Lakhimpur: A rare Indian snake species Red Coral Kukri has been discovered at Katarniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary (KWS) in the Terai region of Uttar Pradesh.

This chance discovery was made by a young conservationist Fazlurrahman, who also is an officer bearer of an NGO, Katarniaghat Foundation (KGF).

"I could not believe my eyes when the infrared night-vision camera caught a deep orange coloured snake creeping near a ‘Rangoy’ vine in KWS," Fazlurrahman told.

"I had never sighted such a snake anywhere else in India and my curiosity prompted me to capture the rare moments in my camera till the small reptile crept under the dry Sagaun leaves," he said.

Though Rahman said he did not feel then that he had made the discovery of a rare Indian snake, the discovery of the Red Coral Kukri has enthralled the wildlife experts, conservationists and forest authorities.

Abhijit Das, a reputed herpetologist and head of reptile division in Assam-based NGO Aaranyak, described the discovery as "most exciting".

Das, who has recently presented his research paper on reptiles and amphibians of KWS in Dudhwa Tiger Reserve (DTR), told over phone that the Kukri sighted at KWS was the lone snake species, which has been named Oligodon Kheriensis after the Kheri location where it was first discovered in 1936.

"There are earlier only two instances when this snake species was found, once in Mahendranagar in Nepal and again in West Bengal, which indicate very small distribution of this snake species," he said.

Das has urged the Centre and the state governments to come forward to give more impetus to wildlife conservation in KWS and other parts of Dudhwa Tiger Reserve.

"The discovery is very encouraging," field director DTR Shailesh Prasad said.

"In fact, KWR is among one of those sanctuaries, where human interference is at its minimum due to which indigenous species have a natural environment to flourish and grow," Prasad said.

(Agencies)

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