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Iran has more than 61 species of snakes, of which 21 are venomous.
Iran has more than 61 species of snakes, of which 21 are venomous.

Venomous Snakes Threatened by Antidote Demand

The current trend of dwindling snake species is unsustainable and will lead to an ecological imbalance

Venomous Snakes Threatened by Antidote Demand

Demand for the production of antiserum and antivenom immunoglobulin to treat snakebites threatens the wild population of venomous snakes, an official at the Department of Environment said.
Speaking at the first session of the National Committee for the Strategic Protection and Management of Venomous Snakes in Tehran, Majid Kharrazian Moqaddam, the head of DOE's Wildlife Office, also said there's "excessive" demand for snakes for medical purposes, which has put them at "serious risk", IRNA reported.
 "There needs to be a real assessment of our need for vaccines to treat snakebites," he said, adding that the Ministry of Health must carry out the assessment.
The official said the current trend of dwindling snake species is unsustainable and will lead to an ecological imbalance.
"The consequences will be dire," Kharrazian said.
The DOE has repeatedly called on health officials, particularly the Razi Vaccine and Serum Research Institute, to show more restraint when it comes to using snakes to produce vaccines, but the institute has denied claims that its actions have endangered snake populations.
Based on a defunct agreement between the institute and DOE, the institute must restrict the use of rare snakes for the production of antivenom products to protect the endangered species.
Further, the snakes must be released back into their natural habitats without harm after the venom is extracted. Capturing and transporting live snakes are only allowed in parts of South Khorasan Province and around the city of Zabol in Sistan-Baluchestan Province.
Nasser Mohammadpour, the head of Venomous Animals Department at Razi Institute, said last July that a new agreement would be signed with DOE, but no deal has been reached so far.
According to Mohammadpour, there is a growing demand for antidotes. In 2013, around 40,000 vials were required, which number has increased to 80,000 at present.
Annually, 7,000-10,000 vials of antivenom are exported. Each vial contains 10 ml antidotes and costs $52.
“Despite the fact that Iran is the second country with the highest variety of snakes as well as the highest number of snakebites; fatalities have been rare,” he said last year.
Iran has more than 61 species of snakes, of which 21 are venomous.

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