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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.

Key Points

  • 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.

Source: IE

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