- More than a century after it was first seen, the Assam keelback (Herpetoreas pealii) — a snake species endemic to the region — was rediscovered in 2018 by a team from Wildlife Institute of India (WII) near a reserve forest on the Assam-Arunachal Pradesh border.
About the Keelback
- When the British had discovered the snake, they had classified it as belonging to the larger keelback species.
- This particular keelback does not belong to the generalised keelback snake of India but is rather a unique genus (Herpetoreas) belonging to a smaller group of four species, found in Eastern and Western Himalayas, South China and Northeast India.
Other facts to Know
- There is another snake — Stoliczkia khasiensis, or the Khasi Earth Snake — which was discovered in Meghalaya’s Khasi Hills 150 years ago, but has not been seen after that.
- Most snakes and other reptiles are categorised as ‘data deficient’ in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) list.
- The Poba Reserve Forest (RF), where the snake was found, is one of the last remaining patches of low elevation tropical wet forest in the upper Brahmaputra valley.
- Poba Reserve Forest (RF) is a contiguous forest falling both in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.