Facts for Prelims (FFP)
Context: A report by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS)-India has highlighted 172 incidents of seizures involving the red sand boa (Eryx johnii) between 2016 and 2021 in India.
- The report aims to shed light on the illegal trade of red sand boas, particularly online, to raise awareness and prevent further illegal collection and sale of the species.
- The report reveals that illegal sand boa trade occurred in 18 Indian states and one Union Territory, spanning 87 districts across the country. Maharashtra recorded the highest number of incidents.
- The report recommends that local and international conservation organizations conduct research to better understand the illegal reptile trade.
- It also suggests developing training programs for journalism students and investigative journalists to produce informed media stories on illegal wildlife trade to increase awareness and reduce misinformation.
About Red Sand Boa:
- The red sand boa (Eryx johnii) is a non-venomous snake that lives in the dry parts of the Indian subcontinent.
- It’s also known as the Indian sand boa. The red sand boa is a thick-set snake that’s usually reddish-brown, known for its blunt tail, which it uses to mimic its head when it senses a threat.
- Classified as ‘Near Threatened’ by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) with a declining population trend.
- The red sand boa is highly sought after in the illegal wildlife trade due to its demand in the pet trade and its use in black magic.