Following the footsteps of his father and brother, Biplab Mahapatra from Odisha pursued a degree in journalism. Yet the love of animals had always been a priority for him, prompting him to devote his free time to rescuing wild animals and protecting the innocent creatures from the wrath and greed of human beings. In the past eight years, Biplab, also a mountaineer, had rescued over 17,000 snakes, 500 Cattle, 20 Cats, 15 Monkeys, 200 Birds, 2200 other reptiles and in the process, set the new Limca record for saving the highest number of at-risk species.
Talking to Efforts For Good, Biplab shares about his latest initiative – Save Snakes – aimed to reduce human-snake conflict and spread awareness to prevent deaths from snake bites. By organising awareness camps in schools, colleges and corporate offices, Biplab and his team have drastically reduced snakebite-related deaths in his hometown in Odisha.
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Biplab Mahapatra: Saving snakes means saving human lives as well
In 2010, Biplab Mahapatra had gone for a trekking trip when news reached him that a python had entered a village and the villagers have planned to kill it. He rushed to the spot, and it took him hours of explanation to deter the violently thrilled villagers. “I told them repeatedly it was non-venomous and better left in the wild,” shares Biplab.
For years, Biplab Mahapatra and his enthusiastic team of volunteers, who add up to around fifty in number now, have been rescuing snakes from all over the country, especially in Odisha. “As word spread about us, we used to get calls for snake bite related cases. From my experience, I could identify the nature of snake bite from looking at the wound texture and could assist doctors by telling them whether it was a venomous or non-venomous snake. We helped save many lives in the process,” narrates Biplab.