By- Suvidha Bhatnagar
An awareness program was conducted by Wildlife SOS at the Commissioner’s camp office in Agra on December 27, 2013. Mr. Pradip Bhatnagar (IAS), the Commissioner of Agra, his family members, Doctors from SN Medical college, police officials and the gardeners attended the awareness program. The program focussed on educating the officials and gardeners regarding the common snakes and monitor lizards which they might come across while working in public parks and gardens around monuments, of which Agra has so many. Representing Widlife SOS at the workshop was Mr. Baiju Raj M.V. who is a Widlife Biologist and works as Director- Administration at Wildlife SOS’S Agra Bear Rescue Facility.
It was very inspiring to see the Commissioner and his family members (see in the picture above) sending a positive message of conservation and tolerance by handling the monitor lizard under Mr. Baiju’s supervision and endeavoring to show people that the superstitions about the animal being highly poisonous with a toxic breath is a myth which unfortunately leads to people killing them unnecessarily. This program also made the people aware about the techniques with which they can avoid conflict with reptiles and handle common snakes & monitor lizards without harming themselves, as well as the program created a platform which hopefully contributed to avoiding human-wildlife conflict in future and established the need to have several other such programs in the future.