Vava Suresh (born 1974) is an Indian wildlife conservationist and a snake expert. He is known for his mission of saving snakes that have strayed into human-inhabited areas in Kerala, India. He has captured 200 (as of November 2020) King cobras, and is believed to have captured and rescued more than 38,000 straying snakes.[2][citation needed]

Vava Suresh
വാവ സുരേഷ്
Vava Suresh
Suresh in 2016
Born1974 (1974) (age 48)[1]
Other namesVasur, Snake Master
Occupation
Known forSnake capturing and wildlife conservation
Parents
  • Bahuleyan
  • L. Krishnamma
Websitewww.youtube.com/c/VavaSureshOfficial

He hosts a snake capturing programme called "Snake Master" on Kaumudy TV. Throughout his work, he has survived many venomous snakebites, some of which caused him to be hospitalized, and placed on a ventilator or treated in the ICU.

Conservation activitiesEdit

Suresh is widely known for his conservation activities like the rescue and release of endangered species of snakes, preservation of collected eggs until hatching, and creating awareness among people about snakes and their behaviour.[3][4] He releases his reptile collections into natural habitats at regular intervals of time.[5] His efforts to capture venomous snakes from human-populated areas and to educate the people about snakes and their behaviour are widely acknowledged.[6]

Rejection of Forest Department job offerEdit

 
Vava Suresh at Pandalam in 2011

In recognition of his services to society and his efforts in conserving various vulnerable species of snakes endemic to the state, Suresh was offered a government job[7] in 2012 by minister K. B. Ganesh Kumar, at the snake park that would be set up at the Kottur forest area near Kattakada in Thiruvananthapuram. Suresh declined, stating that he would be prevented from helping the society in his usual manner, if he accepted the position.[8]

Snakebite incidentsEdit

During his long career of conservation activities, he has been bitten by snakes numerous times. According to an interview by the news channel ABP Majha, conducted on 5 June 2012, Suresh admitted to being kept on a ventilator twice and in ICU four times. In all, he has survived more than 300 venomous snakebites.[8] He was hospitalized in August 2013 for a lethal bite. On 20 June 2015, he was hospitalized for a cobra bite,[9] and on 13 February 2020, he suffered a serious Russell's viper bite. [10] On 31 January 2022, at Kottayam, he was bitten by a cobra above the knee on his right thigh, while trying to bag it. He was admitted to the Government Medical College in Kottayam. This was considered as the worst snakebite that ever happened to him.

Expert testimonyEdit

Suresh provided a statement to police regarding the habits and abilities of Indian cobras and Russell's vipers in connection to the death of Uthra, a young wife and mother, who was killed by a snakebite inflicted while she was asleep on 7 May 2020, in Anchal, Kerala.[11] It was later determined that her husband had attempted to murder her, first with a Russell's viper, and next, with an Indian cobra, succeeding in the second attempt.[12]

RecognitionEdit

Suresh was awarded the 'Vocational Service Award 2011' instituted by the Rotary Club's Thiruvananthapuram division.[13][14] He was selected for his service to society for many years.

In November 2013, during his visit to Kerala, Britain's Prince Charles expressed his desire to meet Vava Suresh and a rendezvous was arranged in Vazhachaal in Thrissur.[15]

CriticismEdit

He was criticised by forest department officials and social media users for not complying with safety guidelines during snake rescue posing danger to himself, the snakes and common people. Many say the snakes he has caught won't survive due to injuries caused by his unscientific handling of them. The 3000 odd bites he got during snake rescue is interpreted as testimony to the allegation that he doesn't know to handle snakes safely. [16]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Vava Suresh- 'snake man' of Kerala". Indian Express. 19 April 2011. Retrieved 27 May 2013.
  2. ^ "Ace Kerala snake handler in ICU after viper bites him during rescue operation". hindustantimes.com. 14 February 2020.
  3. ^ "King Cobra sightings bring up snake bite treatment issues". The Hindu. 30 September 2010. Retrieved 6 April 2011.
  4. ^ "Seriously hurt cobra saved through surgery". Manorama Online. 21 March 2011. Retrieved 6 April 2011.
  5. ^ "Vava Suresh continues his mission to rescue snakes despite the occasional bites". The Hindu. 5 July 2010. Archived from the original on 26 November 2010. Retrieved 6 April 2011.
  6. ^ "Where snakes feel at home". The Hindu. 5 July 2010. Archived from the original on 26 November 2010. Retrieved 6 April 2011.
  7. ^ TNN (21 March 2012). "Govt offers job to Vava Suresh". The Times of India. Archived from the original on 9 November 2013. Retrieved 27 May 2013.
  8. ^ a b "Snake-catcher Vava Suresh denies job by Kerala forest minister". India Today. 13 April 2012. Retrieved 27 May 2013.
  9. ^ "പാന്പ് കടിയേറ്റു, പക്ഷേ വാവസുരേഷ് അത്യാസന്ന നിലയിലല്ല". oneindia.malayalam (in Malayalam). 20 June 2015. Retrieved 16 June 2021.
  10. ^ "Vava Suresh suffers snakebite". Times Of India. 14 February 2020. Retrieved 16 June 2021.
  11. ^ "Uthra might have been forcefully bitten by snake, says Vava Suresh". Mathrubhumi. Archived from the original on 19 November 2020. Retrieved 22 September 2020.
  12. ^ "'A brutal, rare murder using two snakes', says chargesheet in Uthra's death". thenewsminute.com. 7 May 2020. Archived from the original on 19 November 2020. Retrieved 20 September 2020.
  13. ^ "Award for snake catcher". thehindu.com. 23 April 2011. Retrieved 27 April 2011.
  14. ^ "Rotary award for Vava Suresh". The New Indian Express. 21 April 2011. Retrieved 26 April 2011.
  15. ^ J. Binduraj (12 November 2013). "Prince Charles to meet master snake catcher Vava Suresh in Thrissur today". India Today.
  16. ^ "Rescuer or tormenter? Social media furiously debates snake catcher Vava Suresh".

External linksEdit