Dehradun: In one-of-its-kind effort to conserve the snake from extinction, the Jim Corbett National Park has made mandatory for the forest department employees to adopt the methods to curb the declining number of snakes in the state.

As per the directive issued by the Chief Wildlife Caretaker, Dr Srikanat Chandola, forest department employees including the security staff will have to go through training sessions at Corbett Training Centre, Kalagarh to learn the procedures followed in protection of snakes.

Considered as the most persecuted of all animals, snake killing fails to come to a halt. With the destruction of habitat due to urban sprawl, deforestation and pollution, the snake count has drastically reduced leading to the extinction of its several species.

Gauging the importance of this carnivorous reptile in maintaining a healthy ecosystem, the caretaker has resolved to make training as a compulsory part of the curriculum. Under this, lessons and practical training will be given to forest police for controlling snake killings in the state.

Along with this, departmental officers and workers will be taught about the ways to prevent killing of snakes.

It is worth mentioning that out of 270 species of snakes in the country, 70 are found in Uttarakhand. Snakes are the indicators of the healthy ecosystem. They help to control rodent pests from destroying crops and helps in preparing life saving drugs.

However, following the lack of awareness amongst the masses, Additional Chief Forest Conservator, Jai Raj, in the year 2008, took an initiative in this direction. Helpline numbers were launched and NGOs were involved in the rescue operation. In this effort 94 workers of 37 departments were trained to protect snakes.