Indonesia to release 3,000 pythons

Indonesia’s Natural Resources Conservation Center is to release 3,000 pythons into the wild this year.

  • Published: 26/04/2013 at 04:59 PM
  • Newspaper section: breakingnews

Indonesia’s Natural Resources Conservation Center will release 3,000 pythons into the wild at an undisclosed location. The head of the organisation insists that the release will be carried out as far away as possible from human settlements. (Somkid Chaijitvanit)

The Indonesian Institute of Sciences has asked the centre to breed a quota of 8,000 pythons per year, so that the snake’s skins can be exported for use in products such as handbags and shoes, or sold on the domestic market.

Now 3,000 of the snakes will be released into the wild in Bengkulu province, according to the Indonesian news agency Antara.

Anggoro Dwi Sujatmiko, head of the conservation centre, said the organisation would breed the large species of snake using young pythons supplied from snake eggs currently being hatched in business premises outside Bengkulu.

He confirmed that the 3,000 pythons would be set free in a location as far away as possible from human settlements, since people would protest if their local area was chosen as a breeding ground for so many pythons. 

Mr Anggoro suggested that Bengkulu has a number of large uninhabited swamp or bush areas that could make a suitable home for the snakes.

He added that farmers need pythons to scare away rats from their rice fields, since they feed on live animals including rodents.

According to a study published last November, the survival of pythons is under threat because of their use in the fashion trade.

The Trade in South-East Asian Python Skins report claims that almost half a million python skins are exported each year - almost exclusively for use in European fashion - in a market with a legal value of more than US$1billion (29bn baht). 

Many of the skins end up as designer handbags, belts, wallets and other accessories. Italy, Germany and France are the biggest importers. Most of the skins come from Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam.

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