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City vet: ‘Do not kill king cobras if you’re not threatened’

By: Pia Piquero and Kim Ablaña - CDN Digital Multimedia Reporter and CTU Intern | February 15,2024 - 12:48 PM

King Cobra

King Cobra

CEBU CITY, Philippines – A veterinarian is urging residents to refrain from killing king cobras if they do not feel threatened.

Jessica Maribojoc, head of Cebu City’s Department of Veterinary Medicine and Fisheries (DVMF), stated that all species, including king cobras, have a significant contribution to the environment, which she termed as “symbiotics.”

“Naa man gud sad ni silay ‘symbiotic function’ sa environment. Nahulog man jud na sila nga predator; [example] if naay mga ilaga, kana sila, sila pud ang naga control,” she said on Wednesday, February 14.

(They have a ‘symbiotic function’ with the environment. They are predators. So if there are rats, they are the ones who control them.)

For context, a symbiotic relationship refers to a mutually beneficial interaction between different organisms living together.

King cobras play essential role in ecosystem

Research suggests that king cobras play an essential role in the ecosystem by maintaining balance. They control the population of other snakes, particularly venomous ones, by preying on them.

Furthermore, king cobras are not typically aggressive snakes. They usually enter human settlements while chasing their prey.

However, Maribojo noted, “But, if we are talking about the safety na, like muhatag na siya’g danger sa tao, of course that’s the time nga naa sa’y buhaton… We are talking the life and death naman gud sa tao.”

(But, if we are talking about the safety, like if it puts you in danger, of course that’s the time something has to be done. Because we are talking about life and death of a person.)

King cobras harmless

Previously, Dr. Alice Utlang, Cebu City’s special assistant on veterinary, agriculture, and fishery concerns, explained that king cobras, locally known as ‘banakon,’ are ‘harmless’ animals.

READ: Utlang calls for preservation of king cobras: ‘They do not attack unless provoked’

She stressed that if not provoked, they do not pose any threat since they would simply slither away.

Utlang also highlighted the importance of refraining from killing these species, as king cobras are now listed as among the “critically endangered” animal species.

She emphasized that critically endangered species face the risk of extinction due to their dwindling numbers.

READ: Why are there several sightings of king cobras in Cebu?

Meanwhile, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Region 7 clarified that although it would be unlawful for any person to willfully and knowingly exploit wildlife resources and their habitats under Republic Act 9147, killing would be justifiable if “one would be put in danger.”

RELATED STORY: King cobra ‘believed’ to attack man, killed in Danao, Cebu

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TAGS: animals, Cebu

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