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Thursday, July 05, 2007

Cambodia snake harvest worries experts

Paris - Cambodians are decimating the population of water snakes in the biggest freshwater lake in Asia, where around seven million of the reptiles are killed and sold for meat each year, New Scientist says.

The creatures were undisturbed until about two decades ago, when declining fish catches and surging demand for meat for local crocodile farms left fishermen at Tonle Sap no choice other than to set their nets for snakes, the British weekly reports in next Saturday's issue.

Sharon Brooks, a researcher at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, who has investigated the hunt, believes the killing is unsustainable.

"I don't know of any other reptile that is exploited to this extent," she said.

Banning the hunt is impractical as it is essential to the local economy, but suspending it during the snakes' breeding season in November and December would help, she said. - Sapa-AFP.
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