Ujjain: For ages snakes have been a symbol of worship in many parts of India. However, one gets goose bumps even at the mere mention of them in passing. Most of us get a strange feeling from these creepy creatures. However, Mukesh Ingle, a snake rescuer, spends most of his time with them as he rejoices in their company.
Free Press talked to him regarding his passion for snakes and his ongoing conservation programme for them. Sharing his love and passion for snakes, Ingle said, “I was born in a very mediocre family with handful of resources at our disposal. We lived from hand to mouth every day. In order to support my family I started working in many shops. The wages I received from there were not decent but good enough to sustain my family. However, for some reasons I had this unspoken fascination for reptiles especially towards snakes.”
He added, “Looking at the dwindling number of snakes I thought of taking up snake conservation programme. I made a snake conservation unit and later it was absorbed into our club called “Friends of Indian Snakes Club”. People appreciated our campaign and with their support we went on to open various branches of this club in many states.”
Ingle said, “Since incidents of snake bites generally increase during rainy seasons so we used to get many calls during this period. I would go and catch these venomous snakes and leave them in jungle or away from the human habitats. My distinctive work brought laurels to me as I started getting the recognition and approval for my work. Soon, government, NGO’s and other bodies started paying me honorarium which in turn helped me to meet my expenses.”
Detailing about the conservation work he undertook, Ingle said, “Way back in 2007, with the help of the government and Ujjain Development Authority (UDA), we laid the foundation of “Snake conservation and research centre” at Vasant Vihar in Ujjain. Here we are taking care of different species of snakes and many reptiles. At present we have snakes of around 75 species from very poisonous to harmless ones.”
He said, “Snakes are not merely symbol of worship. In fact they are integral part of our ecology as they are very important constituent of food chain. A snake like any other creature is harmless, if not attacked or troubled. They may bite in their self-defense, if they sense any danger or threat therefore I would request everyone to treat them with due care and maintain a safe distance.”