AVA investigating alleged mishandling of snake by handlers in Boon Lay

Rei Kurohi Straits Times 27 Jul 18;

SINGAPORE - A large snake was spotted in a Book Lay park and removed by handlers from the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) on Tuesday (July 24).

In a video posted on Facebook by All Singapore Stuff, two men can be seen attempting to recapture the snake after it flees into a drain.

The men manage to pull the snake out of the drain using snake tongs. One of them then grabs the snake's tail while the other grabs its head. They then take photos of the snake with a smartphone before placing it into a sack.

AVA said that it had received feedback of a snake sighting near Block 187 Boon Lay Drive. The snake was removed and placed in the care of Wildlife Reserves Singapore.

In response to queries, the Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (Acres) said that it did not handle the snake.

Mr Kalai Balakrishnan, deputy chief executive of Acres, said that both AVA handlers seemed inexperienced and did not seem to know what they were doing.

He identified the snake as a reticulated python and estimated that it was between 2m and 2.5m in length.

"The person holding the head of the snake shows little or no care for the animal he's holding, aggressively jerking the head when the python's teeth got stuck in the sack," he said, adding that the snake might have lost some teeth in the process.

Mr Kalai added: "We can only hope the snake did not get injured in the process and I urge the authorities to look into this case to reprimand the company involved in catching the snake. Handling animals requires patience and passion."

In response to media queries, AVA said that it is investigating the alleged inappropriate handling of the snake.

Members of the public who spot a wild animal in distress can call the Acres hotline on 9783-7782.

AVA advised the public not to approach, disturb, feed or try to catch any wildlife, including snakes. Members of the public should keep a safe distance from the animals and avoid confronting or cornering them.

The public should also avoid interacting with the animals, and ensure that young children and pets are kept away from them. They can refer to the advisory on snakes on AVA's website, and contact AVA on 1800-476-1600 to provide feedback or request for assistance.