Save The Snakes works to protect and conserve the iconic king cobra (Ophiophagus hannah). The king cobra is the longest venomous snake in the world and is celebrated in cultures throughout India and Southeast Asia. According to the IUCN, king cobras are listed as a vulnerable species and their populations are thought to be in decline. The king cobra’s notoriety and conservation need make it a perfect flagship species. Save The Snakes rallies behind this beautiful snake in order to support our snake conservation efforts in India.
King Cobras populations are threatened by habitat destruction, persecution and the over-harvesting of individuals for skin, food, pets, and especially traditional medicine.
The Eastern Ghats in South India is a discontinuous chain of mountain ranges harboring an assortment of different habitats and an incredible diversity of wildlife. It also includes the king cobra (Ophiophagus hannah), which is the world’s longest venomous snake, with recorded lengths of over 5.5 meters.
King cobras are listed in Schedule II of the Indian Wildlife Act and as Vulnerable in IUCN Red List. Being an apex predator, king cobras are indicative of the health of herpetofauna of the region. However, snakes have always been an object of fear and superstition in India. People unnecessarily kill snakes on sight because of fear and lack of knowledge on the ecological importance of snakes. Most people are not aware of the fact that majority of the snake species are non-venomous and are in fact beneficial to mankind as an effective control of rodents.
Such redundant killings at different locations across the Eastern Ghats, coupled with increased habitat destruction from mining and agriculture, indicate a deep intolerance among local people and lack of appropriate conservation measures to protect the biodiversity of the region. In the Eastern Ghats, baseline data about king cobras is rudimentary and this species requires further study to address its conservation needs. Yet, this species could be wiped out from the region if these current threats continue. There is an urgent need to work with these communities so together we can create a harmonious relationship between humans and snakes that will not only protect the iconic king cobra, but will also save the biodiversity of the Eastern Ghats.
Save The Snakes envisages reducing negative interactions between humans and snakes by implementing mitigation strategies which could eventually lead to peaceful coexistence. Learn how Save The Snakes is working to save the king cobra.