Cyprus Grass Snake could be extinct in three years
THE CYPRUS grass snake will be extinct in three years unless drastic measures are taken to protect the breed, President of Cyprus Reptiles Hans-Jorg Wiedl aka ‘Snake George warned yesterday.
“I have been trying to get the backing of the government for the last three years to start up a conservation and breeding programme to stop this snake from becoming extinct,” he said.
Commissioner for the Environment Charalambos Theopemptou said he had a meeting recently with the permanent secretary of the agriculture ministry.
“We agreed between us, that apart from taking various measures to help to save and protect the snake, there needed to be a specific place where George can help the reptiles to reproduce in captivity conditions,” he said.
Theopemptou arranged further meetings and the required documentation were submitted.
“Now I’m waiting for a ministerial response,” he added.
The Commissioner pointed out that there was an online petition available at the web page of Cyprus Reptiles, that aimed to save the snake.
“This snake is important, and 2010 is the year of biodiversity. We – Cyprus – should not be the one country that everyone looks at that lost an important species,” said Theopemptou.
Theopemtou says he has been trying to get the government to do something about the situation for the last three years. “From what we heard at the ministry, sadly I am not hopeful.”
Snake George said: “I have been waiting for help for the state for too long and so I have started an online petition. I would encourage everyone to sign it. This really is the last chance for the grass snake and so now I have gone straight to the EU,” he added.
“Why should they become extinct? There are very, very few left already. If we act now we could save them. But if we do nothing I see the end of the grass snake in a few short years. I will not accept their extinction.”
By Bejay Browne Published on October 22, 2010 in the Cyprus Mail