- The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in its latest update revealed that among the 1,47,517 listed animal species, 41,459 are threatened with extinction including the King Cobra.
- The reptile is a threatened species in India and was added to the Red List over a decade ago, in 2011.
- The Agumbe Rainforest Research Station (ARRS) has been involved in the King Cobra conservation project in the Western Ghats, which is known as the home of this snake species.
- King Cobra, also known as Ophiophagus Hannah, is the largest venomous snake in the world.
- The snakes can reach up to a height of 5.5 meters and is known for their distinctive hood and features, which they use to intimidate potential predators.
- They are widely found in the Western Ghats, the Eastern Ghats, and the Himalayas in India.
- King Cobras generally avoid human settlements.
- They also inhabit other parts of Southeast Asia, such as Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia.
- It is threatened by habitat destruction.
- It is regarded as the national reptile of India
IUCN status: Vulnerable.
CITES status: Appendix II
Wildlife Protection Act, 1972: Schedule II
Their significance to the Ecosystem
- The King Cobras are part of the top predation in the ecosystem and are important in maintaining the balance of nature.
- They feed on other snakes and reptiles to ensure the balance of the species.
- They also play a crucial role in regulating populations of other species, such as rodents, which can cause significant damage to crops and other vegetation.
SOURCE: THE HINDU, THE ECONOMIC TIMES, PIB