‘Sarp’ — Emperor Valley’s star
By SASHA HARRINANAN Thursday, January 3 2013
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SCANNED: Lecturer at UWI's School of Veterinary Medicine (SVM) Michael Morris (right) yesterday carried out an ultrasound scan of the 18-foot-long ana...
THE 18-foot-long, 220lb anaconda snake found sunning itself opposite the Caroni cremation site last Sunday, has been named “Sarp” — in reference to “Sarpa”, the Hindi word for snake — by officials of the Emperor Valley Zoo where the magnificent creature is undoubtedly the star attraction, drawing hundreds of spectators to her concrete and glass enclosure.
Yesterday, officials carried out an ultrasound on “Sarp” and it was later determined that she appears to not be pregnant, as was first thought. “Sarp” is the largest anaconda ever kept at the zoo.
Lecturer at the University of the West Indies’ (UWI) School of Veterinary Medicine (SVM), Michael Morris, carried out the ultrasound exam which failed to locate any offsprings within the snake.
He was hindered in his scan of the anaconda’s stomach by her curled up position.
Another factor was the need to keep her stress level to a minimum, which meant no unnecessary movements or rough handling of the snake.
“It looks unlikely that she’s pregnant but if she starts to get larger and there’s any swelling, we can always come back and have another look,” Morris stated.
The snake was found on a private road opposite the Caroni cremation site on Sunday afternoon by two private security guards who were on patrol of the area. They used rope to lasso the reptile before calling the Zoological Society of Trinidad and Tobago (ZSTT) to collect it.
Questioned yesterday about the injuries caused by the tight lasso, ZSTT conservationist adviser Nadra Nathai-Gyan, told Newsday that a decision was taken by senior officials in the Environment Ministry’s Forestry Division to keep the anaconda at the zoo until her bruises are all healed.
“The Conservator of Forests, Johnny Seepersad and Head of Wildlife Romano MacFarlane, visited the snake today and they agreed it was in her best interest to remain under veterinary care and observation at the zoo, for the time being.
“They want to make sure there is no long-term damage to her trachea and that she can swallow properly, because when she was brought here on Sunday, there was some blood in her saliva and bruises at her throat,” Nathai-Gyan stated.
A big snake under medical observation needs room to move about, which is why the anaconda was moved into a much larger enclosure yesterday.
It includes a pond for this water-based animal, as well as a dry area, complete with sun exposure, soil and leaf litter to mimic its natural habitat. Nathai-Gyan also said scores of people have been flocking to the Emperor Valley Zoo, located opposite the northern side of the Queen’s Park Savannah to marvel at the impressive animal.
“We’ve noticed a significant increase in the number of visitors to the zoo with most visitors finding themselves at the anaconda’s enclosure,” Nathai-Gyan said.