LETTERS: Central Asian cobra

It is a great joy that recently Central Asian cobra also known as Caspian cobra (Naja oxiana) has been reported and photographed for the first time in the state of Himachal Pradesh during an ongoing international snake survey.

Although this extremely rare, highly aggressive and one of the most poisonous among the Asiatic cobras has been reported earlier from northwest India and the Kashmir Himalayas; however, there was no substantial first hand proof of its existence in India. The species is known to occur in the Central Asian republics of Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan; as well as northern Pakistan and northeastern Iran.

The field detection of the species now establishes the subcontinent range of this rare species of cobra from northern Pakistan--across the Kashmir Himalayas into Himachal Pradesh as the easternmost range point of Central Asian cobra. It also indicates that how richly biodiverse nation India is and the importance of comprehensive survey with dedicated researchers, ecologists, foresters, wildlife volunteers and enthusiasts as well as government and non-government agencies in building the biodiversity map of this megabiodiverse nation.

I sincerely believe that there are still several rare and endemic species of flora and fauna hidden from modern science due to lack of regular surveys conducted in different exotic habitats across India.

The national survey agencies of India should be ashamed of themselves as foreign research groups are reporting new and rare species from India with the help of dedicated researchers and volunteers, while the Central and State agencies are enjoying fat salary and sleeping on tax payer’s money for doing nothing! Shame on the survey agencies of India!

Saikat Kumar Basu, Canada


On December 15, Swiss lawn tennis maestro Roger Federer capped his one of the best seasons as he was voted as ‘’BBC overseas sports personality of the year” for a record 4th time. This year he was able to win not just Australian Open but a record 8th Wimbledon title in order to end it by a marvellous margin of 52-5. As a matter of fact, this has been the season he has been able to both accept and overcome the challenge of Rafael Nadal who has been his hardest opponent in the game so far. The awarding ceremony is part of BBC Sports Personality of the Year for which Federer has been chosen as the best candidate.

Now he is gearing up to both make 2018 as marvellous as this year and he will make his best possible effort in order to win the award for the fifth time, making it certain that every international sportsperson around the world will vie for it. It’s high time for Nepalese lawn tennis players to learn from this Swiss lawn tennis great about how to make their career shine bright in the sport by becoming committed and determined enough. Lawn tennis is still a dream for Nepalis who have to go a long way to achieve the skill even at regional level.

Pratik Shrestha, Buddhanagar