Save The King
The King Cobra, Ophiophagus hannah (Cantor, 1836) is the longest venomous snake in the world. It is listed as a Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List and also listed by the CITES Appendix II. The King Cobra is found in a wide variety of habitats; forest, grassland, shrubland, wetlands, terrestrials, arboreal and aquatic. They use a variety of habitats including pristine/degraded/broadleaf forests, tropical rainforests, tropical/subtropical/temperate wet forests, mangrove swamps, swimming in rivers, palm oil plantations, close to river banks, ponds and sometimes small waterways in the vicinity of human habitation including agricultural field and rural villages. Primary threats to King Cobras are thought to be habitat destruction and illegal collection for the skin trade, food, pets, traditional medicines, and persecution by humans.
Nepal is rich in diversity of fauna and floras with unique geographical position and variation in altitude (below 100m-8,848m), habitat, climate and ecological zones (tropical to alpine). Although the King Cobra has been confirmed from 42 districts of Nepal there has been limited research on King Cobras, most of which are confined to small areas, or consist of data from opportunistic surveys. The main purpose of Save The King project is to highlight the current status of the King Cobra and conservation needs in Nepal.
Nepalese have deep-rooted traditional, cultural and religious beliefs towards snakes and worship snakes as gods. Hindus celebrate a special day called Nag Panchami, a famous snake festival, where snake posters and snake sculptures are worshiped by people. In Nepal, every year 1,000 people die out of 20,000 snakebite cases. However, hospital reports indicate that King Cobra bites are extremely rare compared to other venomous snakebites. Unfortunately, most people consider King Cobra to be extremely dangerous and frequently killing them when encountered. Our preliminary survey data reflect an increasing trend in King Cobra deaths. We believe that deaths will decrease in the future, as people become more familiar with King Cobra behavior through this Save The King project.
Nepal has undergone a rapid increase in human population due to expansion of developmental activities, causing drastic decreases in forest areas, which result in increased human-King Cobra conflicts. Our preliminary survey suggests that major threats to King Cobras are deliberate killing by humans and large-scale habitat loss due to increased presence of humans. We will conduct research programs on this charismatic species to understand its natural history and ecology, as well as continued conservation education, community outreach and capacity building programs to protect the habitat and Save The King.
Project Objectives: This project aims to increase the existing information on the King Cobra from Nepal and to mitigate human-King Cobra conflicts in the communities.
The specific objectives are:
To find out the distribution and habitats of King Cobra in Nepal.
To build the capacity of the community people through workshops and awareness programs for the conservation of the King Cobra
To facilitate rescue and relocations of the King Cobra from human dominated areas to its natural habitats
To distribute educational materials like brochures, posters and screening conservation awareness related video shows.
Rescue and Relocation:
We will rescue the King Cobra if needed (when it's inside or in the premises of the people's house) and will relocate to its nearby natural habitat which directly helps in the species conservation.
Outreach and Awareness Programs:
We will conduct awareness and outreach programs at schools and at different levels of community focusing on King Cobra and its conservation. There are a lot of traditional beliefs, superstitions and misconceptions due to which people are indiscriminately killing King Cobras. So through the public awareness programs, we will make educational talks giving the knowledge on misconceptions on King Cobra and the advantages of conservation of King Cobra to overall biodiversity which will also make a long-lasting contribution in species conservation.
The Save The King Project includes the following activities:
Distribution and habitats of the King Cobra:
This study will provide very important data on King Cobra, mainly from the areas with no previous detailed studies. This information will help conservation institutions and researchers to develop management plans and conservation strategies which will make a long-lasting contribution to species conservation.
New poster and brochures printed and distributed for awareness programs in Nepal. Please download print and share.
Snake Conservation Brochure