World’s largest snake hunt hurts Tonle Sap

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Kung-fu Hillbilly
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World’s largest snake hunt hurts Tonle Sap

Post by Kung-fu Hillbilly » Fri Oct 19, 2018 8:39 am

Photograph by David Guttenfelder, AP/National Geographic Creative

Each year millions of water snakes are pulled from Cambodia's Tonle Sap Lake, degrading this ecological wonder of the world.

By Stefan Lovgren
October 17, 2018

It’s close to noon as we slalom between the tops of trees poking out of monsoon-swollen Tonle Sap in Horm Sok’s longtail boat. Along with Hogan, our group includes Peng Bun Ngor, a fish ecologist with the Cambodian Fisheries Administration, and Thach Phanara, the head of laboratories with Cambodia’s Inland Fisheries Research and Development Institute. Sok, 56, is taking us out to check on one of his trap nets. Floating atop a submerged tropical forest is a peculiar feeling, as if nature itself has been upended.

Most of her snake products are sold wholesale at the local market in Krakor, at the western end of Tonle Sap. A kilo (just over two pounds) of processed meat, which requires some 50 snakes, goes for about 50,000 riel, or $12.50.

Tonle Sap is of immense commercial importance. At least 500,000 tons of fish are drawn from it each year—more than from all of North America’s rivers and lakes combined—feeding millions of Cambodians.

After depleting large, high-value fish such as catfishes, sheatfishes, and snakeheads, which are especially vulnerable to the kind of indiscriminate fishing occurring in Tonle Sap, fishermen look for species, such as water snakes, that are lower down the food chain.

We see one sign that fishing in Tonle Sap has reached the low end of the food web—people harvesting mollusks. Sok himself has started collecting snails, which are easy to scoop from the surface of the water. Later, at his floating house, we see two five-gallon sacks of apple snails, so named because of their round shape and large size.

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Re: World’s largest snake hunt hurts Tonle Sap

Post by Username Taken » Fri Oct 19, 2018 12:50 pm

... give 'em a quick, short, sharp shock ...
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