A forest ranger in West Bengal, India, received a scary refresher course on dealing with wild animals when a python he rescued began to strangle him.
The incident was recorded on camera when the man, identified by Indian news agency ANI as Sanjoy Dutta, was posing with the python he had rescued from a village near the Jalpaiguri city in the eastern Indian state.
As a number of excited men took selfies with the ranger holding the python over his shoulders, the snake got agitated and began writhing and strangling the ranger.
The news agency @ANI tweeted: “#WATCH Narrow escape for Sanjoy Dutta, Range Officer of Baikunthapur Forest in Jalpaiguri after a python he rescued from a village almost strangled him to death while he was posing for selfies with locals. #WestBengal”
#WATCH Narrow escape for Sanjoy Dutta, Range Officer of Baikunthapur Forest in Jalpaiguri after a python he rescued from a village almost strangled him to death while he was posing for selfies with locals. #WestBengal pic.twitter.com/KroJHOCOkk— ANI (@ANI) June 18, 2018
Even though the ranger escaped according to reports, the video has triggered a debate on social media on how society, including trained professionals, treats animals.
Tweep @sagarika2308 commented: “Sad... how we treat wildlife.”
Sad...how we treat wildlife— Sunbird (@sagarika2308) June 17, 2018
Another Twitter user @zsmphotography added: “His job is to safeguard wild animals, including snakes. All he had to do is put it in a black cloth bag and move it to safety. Anyway, he’s got his share of embarrassment instead of fame. #cheapthrills”
Other social media users commented on the dangerous selfie culture that has taken over Indian society.
Tweep @MsM_009 wrote: “#snapchat #Facebook #Instagram pictures posted. Mission accomplished”
Another user, @WahengD, wrote: “30 seconds of fame almost cost a life! The poor python would do what an animal does instinctively! Would’ve been another ‘death by selfie’”
30 seconds of fame almost cost a life!— Trishna W. (@WahengD) June 18, 2018
The poor python would do what an animal does instinctively!
Would've been another "death by selfie" https://t.co/cDZM3wmeq5
India has the highest number of deaths caused by taking dangerous selfies, according to a 2017 collaborative study by researchers from Carnegie Mellon University and Indraprastha Institute of Information Delhi.
Tweep @AnyCommon_Man wrote: “What kind of bravery is this? Such camera fools! Lucky that you’re alive and your family is not crying [on] your death!”