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Should zoo keep King Cobra? Snake hasn’t been eating

THE mangement of the Cebu City zoo wants to keep the King Cobra that bit a zoo worker , saying it would be dangerous to release the snake in the wild where it may harm someone else or breed deadlier species.

 
Zoo manager Giovanni Romarate said there’s a possibility that the nearly adult King Cobra may cross-breed with a Philippine cobra or other species, making it more dangerous to people.

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“We don’t know if cross breeding will result in a very venomous kind of snake. Also, if we release the snake, it will either be killed by people or it could victimize more,” Romarate told Cebu Daily News.

 
Visiting Indian wildlife expert Soham Mukherjee recommended releasing the cobra in the wild.

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“King Cobras eat only snakes. I think it should be released in its natural habitat. Maintenance in captivity is difficult and the zoo is not prepared with the infrastructure,” he said.

 
CDN learned that zoo keepers tried to feed the captured cobra live rodents, but the animal has refused to eat since Tuesday.

 
Cobras are found in Bohol, Masbate, Samar, and Leyte.

 
“We don’t have reports of a sighting or listing of it in Cebu until recently,” said Eddie Llamedo, spokesman of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in Central Visayas (DENR-7) .

 
A regional wildlife rescue center in Camp 8, Minglanilla town accepts animals turned over to it before eventual release in their habitats.

 
“Wildlife animals are made to acclimatize at the center in preparation for its release to natural habitat,” Llamedo said.

 
Mukherjee, a member of the Humane Society International, said the snake was still young, a sub-adult.

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Zoo manager Romarate said he’d rather build a serpentarium and keep the King Cobra as an added zoo attraction.

 
But this would need an outlay from the city government, which may not be a top priority.

“But we are calling on those who wish to donate materials for us to build a serpentarium. We’d gladly accept them.”

 
Snake-bite victim Ronaldo “Ronron” Aventurado was recovering well at the Cebu City Medical Center and resumed normal breathing at 10 a.m yesterday.

 
His respirator tube was removed after his vital signs were normal.

 
“Only oxygen remains and some IV fluids. He has regained a lot of strength, was able to sit and even stood up,” said Sylvan “Jack” Jakosalem, Cebu City Traffic Operations Management (Citom) chairman .

 
Jakosalem helped arrange the airlifting of anti-venom vials from Camiguin province that saved Aventurado’s life.

 
He said the patient is on a liquid diet and may be discharged soon.

 
Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama, who visited him last Thursday evening, said the incident was a wake-up call to city health officials to stock on vials of anti-venom.

 
The anti-venom vials cost P600-P700 each and consist of the snake’s venom mixed with the antibodies of a young horse.

 
City Legal Officer Joseph Bernaldez said a complaint may be filed by the aggrieved party if the snake turns out to be a property of the city zoo.

 
“But only if there’s proof of negligence. The incident should be investigated,” he said.

 
Aventurado said he hopes the DOH-7 could provide them with anti-venom vials in case another similar incident occurs in their area. With Jessa P. Omega, Palompon Institute of Technology Intern

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