Snakes alive (not) in the Amazon

Snakes alive (not) in the Amazon

FREEK VONK: Biologist was saddened by anaconda killing Photo credit: CC/DWDD

An example of a new type of anaconda recently discovered in the northern region of the Amazon rain forest has been found dead.

Netherlands biologist and television presenter Freek Vonk, who was a member of the team of international experts that discovered the snake in February, said on Instagram that he had learnt via various sources that it appeared to have been shot.

An official report would later confirm how the snake met a death which Vonk said made him “so sad and so angry at the same time.”

The snake had been strong and healthy and would have been capable of reproducing, the biologist added. “It’s a blow for biodiversity that this is no longer possible,” he said.

He also revealed that the Naturalis Biodiversity Centre in Leiden had owned a preserved example of the newly-identified species for half a century without realising how important and rare it was.

Named the northern green anaconda and found in Venezuela, Suriname and Guyana, the snake was the second type of the species located so far in the entire Amazon region.

Vronk explained that there was a 5.5 per cent difference between the DNA of the northern green anaconda and the southern green anaconda.

“To put this in perspective, humans and chimpanzees differ in DNA by just 2 per cent,” Vonk said on Instagram, declaring that he hoped the perpetrators would be found and prosecuted. “This sort of behaviour needs a severe punishment,” he declared.

Meanwhile, Professor Bryan Fry corrected media reports that the dead snake was same as the largest anaconda yet discovered in the Ecuadorian Amazon.  This too has been found dead.

“That particular specimen wasn’t one of the new species but was a southern green anaconda ,” Fry told USA Today on March 27.

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Written by

Linda Hall

Originally from the UK, Linda is based in Valenca and is a reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering local news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at