24May,2015; Venue- Atta Gallata, Kormangala, Bangalore. I got the opportunity to capture the best moments of the event, “Jungle Tales” organized by F5 Escapes.
Clock struck 5.00 p.m. and here is Malini introducing the first speaker whose life deals with snakes. The person who was in the scenes of wildlife documentaries such as “The King and I”, “Secrets of the King Cobra”, “Asia’s Deadliest Snake”, “One million Snake Bites” and “Wildest India” by most reputational channels BBC, National Geographic Channel, Nat Geo Wild and Discovery Channel respectively. He is none other than Gowri Shankar- “The King of Cobras”.
“Snakes are beautiful, isn’t it? How many are scared of them? How many of you doesn’t like them?, Gowri Shankar started his session by asking these questions. The audience were eager to know about him or rather snakes. His love for snakes drove him to do a Ph.D from North Orissa University.
The slides showed by Gowri Shankar were full of snakes wrapped with different dazzling colors, yellow with black dots, Olive Green, Shiny Golden and much more. The speaker also told about the most interesting thing about King Cobra, which was his forte. His eyes became enthusiastic to talk about Ophiophagus hannah. Ophio means Snake and Phagus means eating, which literally means King Cobras feed on other snakes!
Mr. Shankar also mentioned that Rat Snake, Common Cobras and Pythons are among the most common preys of King Cobras. He mentioned the Hot Spots like the Western Ghats which is the shelter of most Cobras.
Being a researcher, Gowri Shankar has studied each and every move of King Cobras. Some of the videos he showed were part of his documentary films. We were so delighted to see the video of the nest preparation for the laid eggs by using the dry leaves, Pictures of fetching a prey. Anxiety were growing more and more among the listeners.
This Cobra Charmer educated us about the technique known as Radio Telemetry, in Agumbe Rainforest Research Station (ARRS) which helps in observing and learning each and every minute details of the “King”. This technique helps in understanding as well as documenting the nesting process, male combat, mating and behaviors like Cannibalism. It take almost 8- 12 hours to shot a particular move of this beautiful animal and it takes almost 2-3 months to make a documentary which we enjoy in our Discovery and National Geographic channels.
Gowri Shankar, concluded his speech by giving importance for saving the lives of these unique creatures of nature. Being a part of Rescue team in Agumbe, he basically called to rescue people which in turn also helps the “King” to get transfer to a safer place. King Cobra were spotted in people’s bedrooms, roof tops, backyards, trees, bathrooms, kitchen etc. People in Agumbe (where he have been staying for almost 5 years) don’t kill Cobras, they just answer the rescue call at any moment. Gowri has now laid down many foundations and workshops where the aspirants can fulfill their dreams of being a part of snake rescues and relocation.
Give a quick view to Gowri Shankar’s work: https://pogirigowrishankar.wordpress.com/
Let’s take a step forward to conserve these marvelous creatures of mother earth!