Inspired by programs on Discovery Channel, Umar Zahoor from Ganderbal has rescued around 50 snakes in various parts of district over the past several years and later releases them to safer locations.
Hailing from Saloora area of Ganderbal, Umar was in 8th class when he rescued the first snake in the school and from that day people used to call him for rescue operations.
Umar says his passion for rescuing animals turned him into a snake rescuer.Significance of snakes is vital in maintaining ecological balance of the ecosystem, he said.
“I have saved around 45-50 snakes by promptly responding to rescue calls on my mobile phone during the past several years,” he claims, saying the mission of rescuing snakes and releasing them far away from human habitations was a service to society.
Umar told Rising Kashmir that he was inspired by watching various programs on Discovery Channel and other platforms about rescuing snakes and other animals during the various operations.
"Initially, I used to fear snakes but with time and experience, I managed to learn new skills in this field. Every rescue mission ends after releasing the snakes at some safer locations and educating local residents about animals and their importance," he said.
Umar says it is indeed a tough job which needs courage and art. “My endeavor always has been to rescue animals including snakes etc without harming them,” he said adding that apart from snakes, he is also rescuing other animals.
He had also rescued dogs, cats and other birds and after the treatment, he let them free.
“The first time I rescued a snake was when I was in School but when my family got wind of this, they were upset and discouraged me from rescuing snakes," he said.
Kashmir has broadly two varieties of snakes — the viper, which is fatally venomous, and the non-venomous rat snakes, while in Jammu, there have been instances of cobra, Russell’s viper, and krait sightings along with rat snakes.
Umar says people should remember to not harm any animals including snakes. “They are also the beautiful creations of the Almighty and they also have their lives and families.”