Villagers in northern Taiwan are demanding the easing of conservation laws they say have caused them to be swamped with poisonous snakes.
“The snake population has grown so fast that they pose a serious threat to farmers working in the rice paddies or orchards,” Chung Hsin, an official with the Paoshan Farmers Association, said in an interview Monday.
Taiwan listed 20 snakes, including cobras and banded kraits, as endangered species two years ago. Their population had dwindled because so many of them were caught for food. Fifteen of those species are poisonous.
But Chien Ming-lung, an Agriculture Council official, said the snake population was still too endangered to relax the regulations.
Officials say an estimated 50 people are killed and 300 people injured by snakes a year in Taiwan.