Green vine snake and Indian black scorpion seized from poacher in Delhi

A poacher who possessed An Indian black scorpion and a green vine snake; both protected wildlife species has been arrested by the police near Karol Bagh.

The arrest was made after a tip-off was received by police. The man has been charged under different sections of the Wildlife Protection Act. The animals have been handed over to the care of conservation organisation, Wildlife SOS.

The green vine snake ( Ahaetulla nasuta ), is mildly venomous and is commonly seen in South Asia. It is mostly active during days and lives mostly on trees.

It is shy and is non-threatening and inflates its head to frighten its enemies. Since it is thin and green, it often vanishes into green bushes. It feeds mostly on frogs, rodents, lizards and small birds.

The Indian black scorpion is a native of the Indian subcontinent and like all its cousins of the Scorpionidae family, it possesses venom used to paralyse or kill its prey.

Venoms of snakes and scorpions are a rich source of proteins and are much sought by pharmaceutical research firms and commands an exorbitant price.

Scorpion venom has been known to modulate cell proliferation, cell growth and cell cycle. The venom of Indian black scorpion (Heterometrus bengalensis) is being researched for its action in leukaemia.

The man was showing off the snake and the scorpion to curious passersby when he was taken into custody by the police and the Wildlife SOS was contacted. The Wildlife SOS will release both into the wild once they are fit

Incidents like this confirm that there is a flourishing trade of illegal flora and fauna right under the noses of the authorities.

Laws are in place but there is a wide gap between enforcement and conviction of the offenders. The trade is fed with money from multinational pharmaceutical companies who feel that it is cheaper to obtain products for their research illegally than by the usual legal route.