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Red Sand Boa : WCS Report

Red Sand Boa : WCS Report

A report by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS)-India titled ‘Illegal Trade of Red Sand Boa in India 2016-2021’ has exposed the trade of red sand boa.

  • It is concern about the illegal trade of Red Sand Boas and the urgency for conservation efforts.
  • The report documents a total of 172 incidents of seizures involving red sand boas between 2016 and 2021, revealing the alarming extent of illegal trade.
  • Illegal trade spans 18 Indian states, 1 Union Territory, and 87 districts; Maharashtra and UP record the highest incidents.
  • Maharashtra dominates with 59 cases, including urban areas like Pune, Thane, Mumbai Suburban.
  • Uttar Pradesh closely follows 33 incidents, often near Nepal’s border in districts like Bahraich, and Lakhimpur-Kheri.
  • Social media, especially YouTube, aids illegal trade, with 200 sales-promoting videos in 2021.
  • The report’s findings underscore the urgent need for conservation efforts to prevent the further decline of the red sand boa population and protect India’s biodiversity.

The Red Sand Boa:

  • Red Sand Boa (Eryx johnii), commonly called the Indian Sand Boa, is a non-venomous species.
  • It is a primarily reddish-brown and thick-set snake that grows to an average length of 75 cm.
  • Unlike most snakes, the tail is almost as thick as the body and gives the reptile the appearance of being “double-headed”.
  • The Red Sand Boa is the largest of the sand boa in the world. Nocturnal and spends the majority of its time under the ground.
  • Found in the whole of India excluding North-east states and North-Bengal; also not found in Indian islands.
  • Status:
    • IUCN Red List: Near Threatened
    • Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES): Appendix II.
    • Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act of 1972: Schedule IV.