Chinese villagers arm themselves with wooden clubs after sacks of snakes released in neighbourhood
People in a Sichuan village have begun carrying wooden clubs when they go outside after more than 150 snakes were illegally released into the wild in July, a mainland news website reported.
Large numbers of snakes have appeared in and around the village of Shuangdian in Mianyang, Sichuan province, leaving local residents afraid of going outside, especially to the mountains, the Chengdu Business Daily reported.
Four strange men drove to the village about 10 days ago and left more than 10 sacks of snakes there. After they opened the bags, the snakes spread and became a threat in the village, 82-year-old villager Zhao Chaoxiu said.
Zhao said she had to carry a wooden club when outdoors to prevent a snake attack.
The village director Li Bin said villagers usually collect herbs on the mountains in July and August but they were afraid to enter the area because of the snakes.
It was not the first time snakes had been released into the wild in Shuangdian, villagers said. Another group of unknown men released snakes in the village about two months ago but those snakes did not spread out or become a threat, the report said.
Nature protection authorities quickly came to the village and searched with 50 cages and traps for 10 days, and caught more than 150 snakes.
They believed they had found almost all of the snakes that were released, the authorities said, adding that the snakes they found were not poisonous.
The authorities said anybody who wanted to release wildlife had to first get permission from forestry departments in the province and find an appropriate place under instructions. According to the wildlife conservation law, which was updated in July, it is against the law to release wild animals that damaged the interests of others or could upset the ecosystem.
The authorities are searching for the men who released the snakes in Shuangdian to hold them legally responsible, the report said.