Sunday, November 18, 2007
Captive breeding of cobras at Pilikula Nisargadhma-Jaideep Shenoy
MANGALORE: In a bid to increase the tribe of endangered king cobras, the Central Zoo Authority, New Delhi, has asked the city-based biological park to breed the venomous reptile in captivity.
Dr. Shivaram Karanth of Pilikula Nisargadhama (Biological Park) at Moodushedde near here has already started the preliminary work to take up captive breeding of Ophiophagus Hannah.
Importantly, this would be a totally in-house effort. H. Jayaprakash Bhandary, Director of the Park told The Hindu here that the Park here has five king cobras, including two females, at present. It had released two of them into the wild recently.
“We need to create a special environment for the king cobras to breed including keeping the pair selected in isolation. king cobras normally breed during December and we will set up necessary conditions with the help and expertise of our Park staff in this regard.”
The then Deputy Commissioner, Arvind Shrivastava, had exchanged documents on the memorandum of understanding with herpetologist Romolus Whittaker on February 15, 2004 to start India’s first scientific captive breeding centre for king cobras at the Park. However, it was never implemented for various reasons. “It is only of late that the Authority on its own accorded permission to start the activity,” Mr. Bhandary says.
On reasons for the Authority to select the Park, Mr. Bhandary says king cobras are commonly found in the Western Ghat region and efforts to breed them here at the Park, which falls in the foot of the Ghats, was expected to yield positive results.
The purpose is to conserve the species and to aid their lateral spread, he adds. This would also help the zoological parks in the country to procure them without disturbing their habitat, he notes.
The Central Zoo Authority has selected a few leading zoos across India to take up captive breeding of endangered species.
“A zoo in north India has been permitted to breed Snow Bear just as they have allowed us to breed king cobras,” said Mr. Bhandary.
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