Many people fear snakes, and this misplaced fear often results in people killing snakes, which is negatively impacting wild populations. World Snake Day gives us the chance to dispel some of these fears and highlights the benefit of snakes in our environment. Snakes play a vital role in our ecosystem ensuring that there is a balance.
One of Zimbabwe’s protected snakes is the African Rock Python. Pythons are non-venomous therefore they can be caught by hand by professionally trained people. The Zimbabwe Parks and wildlife management authority through its Problem Animal Unit ensure that snake species like the python are safely captured and later released if found in human residential areas. After the Python is caught it is not killed because it is a specially protected endangered species. Instead, it is disposed into its natural habitat where the area is protected e.g. Lake Chivero Recreational Park or Darwendale Recreational Park. The authority has a mandate to protect these beautiful reptiles for present and future generations and the public is warned that if caught in possession of this snake be it its skin, teeth or caught in the act of killing it ,one stands to serve a minimum of 9 years in prison. (Story by Dumisani Chihoto)