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 the 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 regarding the king cobras, have been sparse. By using a combination of research, education and community outreach, the 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.