Assam Keelback Rediscovered
- 02 Jul 2020
- 2 min read
Why in News
The Assam keelback (Herpetoreas pealii), a snake endemic to Assam, has been found 129 years after it was last spotted by British tea planter Samuel Edward Peal in 1891.
- The snake was considered a lost species since no sighting had been reported since its discovery in 1891.
- In 2018, it was found in the Poba Reserve Forest (RF) by a team of scientists from the Wildlife Institute of India (WWI), who were retracing the steps of the Abor Expedition.
- Abor Expedition was a military expedition by the British against the Abors in 1911.
- Assam Keelback:
- The non-venomous snake was named after Samuel Peal and the place where it was found.
- It is small — about 60 cm long, brownish, with a patterned belly.
- It has a unique genus (Herpetoreas) belonging to a smaller group of four species, found in Eastern and Western Himalayas, South China and Northeast India.
- It is categorised as ‘data deficient’ in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) list.
- This is the worst category because there is practically no information available about it and it is difficult to determine its status.
- Poba Reserve Forest:
- Poba RF is located along the Assam-Arunachal border, in Assam.
- The National Highway -15 passes through the reserved forest.
- The reserved forest is now under threat due to destruction of forest cover and random hunting, poaching and illegal collection of forest resources by unscrupulous people.