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Snake Harvest threatens Cambodian lake

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nam78_two Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 04:16 PM
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Snake Harvest threatens Cambodian lake

Researchers for the Wildlife Conservation Society estimate nearly 4 million snakes are plucked out each year, and fear that number can't sustain the snake population. That raises concerns among both the thousands who make their living off the catch and environmentalists monitoring the fragile and already battered lake.

To a visitor, the family's environment seems anything but unpleasant.

Dozens of spot-billed pelicans, a species endangered around the globe, rise with powerful beats of wings, then skim gracefully over the water. Gray-headed fishing eagles watch broodingly from treetops, while spear-sleek cormorants flap over muddy waters burbling with eggs, seeds, spores, larvae and hatchlings.

This unique ecosystem forms each year as the Tone Sap expands to five times its dry season size to flood tropical forests and farm land around Southeast Asia's largest lake and is the source of at least 60 percent of Cambodia's protein intake.

From this primordial incubator slither millions of water snakes from five species of the subfamily Homalopsinae.

Most of the catch goes to crocodile farms. Other snakes are turned into wallets, handbags and other luxury products. Some are exported or sold locally to restaurants where they are fried, dried, boiled and curried, a pregnant female being considered a special delicacy.

"We do know that the intensity of the harvest is going up and the quantity of snakes being brought into the ports and markets is going down," says Walston, a wildlife biologist.

It's not certain whether a point of no return has already been reached, he says, but some species like the Bocourt's water snake, valued for both its skin and meat, are now rarely found.

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Recursion Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 04:21 PM
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1. As long as they stay off my *ing plane... nt
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shain from kane Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 04:43 PM
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2. God to St. Patrick, "Get those motherf*cking snakes off that
motherf*cking island."

Of course, He didn't know what it was like to have a mother.
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