As snake hunting becomes a good business option for the locals from dry areas in central Myanmar such as Chauk, NyaungU, Kyuakpadaung and Pakokku townships, the region is facing the risk of damaging the ecosystem, according to local people.
Hunting snakes is not an easy job and people can’t do it alone, the job needs two or three people to search and capture snakes.
“I do not have a chance for other jobs. That’s why I work as a snake hunter to earn my living. It is dangerous work if you are not good at catching snakes,” said a snake hunter from a village in Nyaung U Township in Mandalay Region.
Snake buyers come and buy the snakes the hunters bagged. Villagers are not aware of the last destination the reptiles were sold. The hunters get Ks.6000 a viss for a viper snake. However, they get Ks. 22,000 for a viss of rat snake. A snake hunter who works all day makes about Ks.30, 000.
“Other jobs are not as profitable as snake hunting. When the season to catch snakes arrives, I have to hunt snakes, however I know it is not a good job,” said a snake hunter from a village in middle Myanmar.
They mostly hunt snakes from December to March. They search the pits of snakes to capture them.
Snake buyers come in the evenings to buy the snakes that were caught. They buy viper and rat snakes, but never cobras.
The snake hunter said that the population of vipers and rat snakes is gradually decreasing and it’s difficult to get these snakes now.
They could sell 10 viss of snakes a day previously, but they can now sell only three viss a day, he said.
The bad consequence of the snake hunting is the increase of rats and squirrels that are the primary food source for snakes.
Amid the decreasing number of such snakes, the population of carnivorous birds such as owls, eagles, brown fish owls and ravens are down also because people hunt them for food.
Some local people who noticed the future of the ecosystem said that the region needs help to lessen the damage.
“I think, authorities need to control hunting animals in order not to damage the ecosystem. And, more job opportunities should be arranged for those who have no choice but to hunt snakes,” said U San Myint, a villager from Yam Zam village in NyaungU Township.
The ecosystem in the region runs the risk becoming damaged now. The loss local are facing of their corn and peanuts cultivation is larger than before due to a higher population of rats and squirrels, according to local people.