KARACHI, Oct 13: A Sindh Wildlife Department staffer, Rafiq Rajput, who died of snakebite on Sunday afternoon, was buried in Nasir Colony graveyard in Korangi on Monday. He was 40 and leaves a widow and five children.

He had returned to the city after undertaking a coral reef survey off the Jeewani coast in Balochistan on Sunday morning.

An expert at snake catching, Mr Rajput had found the deadly snake during his Balochistan stay and, probably mistaken about its identity, he considered it to be a non-poisonous species and brought it back with him.

He was bitten in the morning and after about a couple of hours he felt sleepy, pain and other problems. He told his relatives to take him to the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre where snakebite treatment facility was supposed to be available.

But the doctors at the JPMC, one of the major hospitals in the city, told his relatives that anti-snake venom, costing around Rs5,000, was not available and asked them to get it from the open market.

It took some time to arrange the money and find venom. By the time they returned to the JPMC, Rafiq had breathed his last a few minutes earlier.

Though having limited formal education in the field, Rafiq Rajput, served the department for over a couple of decades with keen interest in the field. He had undertaken extensive surveys — from Deosai in the north to Nagarparkar in the southeast to Jiwani in southwest.

He undertook some of such surveys without getting permission from the department and had to face disciplinary action. His knowledge of wildlife was however, very good and many a times his superiors used to consult him on the identification of wildlife species.