Vava Suresh- 'snake man' of Kerala
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He gave up schooling to dedicate his life to rescue and protect snakes and 25 years of dogged efforts have seen 37-year-old Vava Suresh catch 25,000 of the slithery creatures, most of them cobras.
Suresh rescues snakes that stray into human habitats and releases them back into bushes or forests where they could live and flourish without being harmed by humans.
He said he was born to 'love and guard' snakes without being driven by any monetary considerations.
Braving poisonous bites, the 'snake-man' of Kerala has caught about 25,000 snakes, most of them cobras, from various parts of the state and put them back into forests.
Calls from various corners of the state, on sighting of snakes, keep his mobile phone busy throughout the day. Even local police and fire-force sometime use his expertise in trapping snakes without causing harm to the reptile or people.
Suresh, living in Thiruvananthapuram, said snakes are gentle and lovable creatures which need kindness and protection from men.
"Snakes are part of my life ever since childhood. I, actually, do not know how I fell in love with them. As a child I had seen people brutally killing snakes. That instilled sympathy for the creature in my mind. At the same time, idols of serpents in temples made me feel that they have some divinity and should be protected," Suresh told PTI. "I get around 15 calls a day seeking my services to catch snakes which people sight in their residential premises.
Many of them get my phone number from police stations or from fire force units. Some local dailies also publish my mobile number for the people to contact me easily," he said.
Suresh caught his first snake alive when he was 12. Since then, his catch list include 12 King cobras, 7000 Indian cobras, 1600-1700 vipers and 150 kraits.