King Cobra not on the verge of extinction in India: Environment ministry
PTI | Mar 24, 2013, 06.08 PM IST
NEW DELHI: King Cobra, the world's longest venomous snake, might be a threatened species globally, but according to environment ministry, it is still not on the verge of extinction in India.
A network of protected areas such as National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries has been "providing protection to the habitats of threatened species of reptiles including crocodiles and King Cobra," environment minister Jayanthi Natarajan has said.
"The Indian crocodile and the King Cobra are presently not on the verge of extinction," Natarajan has said.
King Cobra was included in the "Red List of Threatened Species" by the the International Union for the Conservation of Nature ( IUCN) last year.
The list is widely recognised as the most comprehensive, objective global approach for evaluating the conservation status of plant and animal species.
King Cobra is widely distributed in mountain forest ranges of India -- from Uttarakhand in Western Himalayas to Eastern Himalayas, along the Eastern Ghats up to northern Andhra Pradesh, and in the Western Ghats south of Maharashtra.
Nepal, Indonesia and the Philippines are also home to these majestic snakes, which average at 3 to 4 m in length and typically weigh about 6 kg.
King Cobras have been increasingly threatened due to loss of habitat and over-exploitation for medicinal purposes.
The King Cobra is hunted for its skin which is used in traditional Chinese medicine.