Snake Conservation

Conservation of King Cobras in North Coastal Andhra Pradesh

The king cobra or hamadryad (Ophiophagus hannah) 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. In India their range extends across the Western and Eastern Ghats, sub-Himalayan region and Northeast India; with their habitats varying from humid tropics to sub-tropical and mangroves.

Huge tracts of forests in Eastern Ghats have been lost to development, much of it irreplaceable strongholds of biodiversity. Due to anthropogenic and political sensitiveness, studies about the region’s biodiversity particularly king cobras, have been sparse. By using a combination of research, education and community outreach, Eastern Ghats Wildlife Society aims to gain knowledge on the ecology of the species which in turn would help in effective conservation management.

Being an apex predator, king cobras are indicative of the health of herpetofauna of the region. Hence apart from studying king cobras, we also intend to assess their prey base and the overall status of the region’s herpetofauna.

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A dead king cobra at Srikakulam

A dead king cobra at Srikakulam

A king cobra feeding on a snake in the forests of Maredumilli

A king cobra feeding on a snake in the forests of Maredumilli

Unfortunately, ignorant locals have been killing them on sight unnecessarily out of fear and false-beliefs throughout the northern Eastern Ghats region of Andhra Pradesh. The Eastern Ghats Wildlife Society has been carrying out education and awareness programs in these villages of north coastal Andhra Pradesh to enlighten the public about the significance of these rare snakes. Please help us intensify our conservation efforts through your valuable contributions and support.