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< Current local time in Suriname – Paramaribo
PARAMARIBO–The mongoose that were shipped in from Guyana to hunt venomous snakes have ended up on the run themselves. Authorities have confiscated twelve of the 60 rodents that farmers had imported. “These animals were imported illegally and that’s a violation of the game act,” said Willem Joekoe of the National Forestry Agency LBB.
The farmers of District Commewijne shipped in the mongoose as their last resort against the highly venomous Bothrops atrox, a pitviper species locally known as Labaria that is killing cows, sheep and even attacking people. The labaria, which can grow up to 1.50 meters, hunts for rodents in plantations. In rice District Nickerie they’re known to hunt rats into the paddy fields; several planters there have been bitten by the snake. Livestock out in the fields make easy prey. “We didn’t know what else to do,” said farmer Petrab Bhaan from Jagtlust in Commewijne; at least five cows and seven calves of his were killed by the snake.
The planters shipped in the sixty mongoose through the backtrack route, with permission from the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Fisheries, but apparently they also needed to obtain permission from LBB as well. The problem is that the Indian mongoose is known as one of the World’s Worst Invasive Aliens. LBB which is charged with monitoring the environment fears that the mongoose might form a threat to local wildlife. Apparently the animal had already been imported to Suriname in the sixties -also to fight the labaria- but the population died off off in the meantime.
Police visited the farmers after the story of their drastic measures was published locally, but by then most animals had been released into the wild already. The fate of the twelve they did catch has not been decided yet. They were taken to the Paramaribo Zoo.