The Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) is embarking on licensing people to start engaging in snake farming as a way of conserving the reptiles, a development that has elicited mixed reactions among experts.
In an interview with URN, Vanice Mirembe, the authority’s Manager Conservation, Education and Awareness said they resolved to allow people keep snakes due to the fact that their habitats are shrinking and yet keeping them would be lucrative for both those who opt to sale or milk the reptiles for venom.
Increasingly she said they are getting reports of pythons constricting domestic animals and yet several times herbal practitioners have been spotted playing around with Egyptian cobra after defanging them, the fangs grow again and eventually harm them.
Already a few people have expressed interest in farming but mostly for trade, she says. Before they were only registering snake handlers and have now accumulated more than a hundred of them.
Some of the requirements for one to open a snake farm include getting approval from their neighbors, and having not less than two acres of land and ability to pay an annual fee that is yet to be set. Mirembe says the process of acquiring a farm is stipulated in the wildlife user rights and that they have categories which one might want to pick from. She says the licenses are given according to the intention of the farmers which range from breeding to extraction of venom and trade.