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Vietnamnews on VOV.vn reports that on August 10 Quang Ninh police intercepted a suspicious bus travelling along the highway towards Mong Cai, a city in Quang Ninh province. Over 106 kilograms of live king cobras were found. Police identified the wildlife as belonging to a passenger on the bus and none of the goods had certificates of origin.
Just a week earlier, Hanoi police also confiscated 65 kilograms of king cobra which were also discovered being trafficked by bus.
The king cobra is protected under both Vietnamese law and Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES). Use of the species for any commercial purpose is strictly prohibited. It is good to see authorities acting swiftly in such illegal wildlife trafficking cases.
The king cobra is the world’s largest venomous snake. It is widely distributed across South and Southeast Asia but has been assessed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as vulnerable, as it is rare in almost all of its habitats. King cobras are at particular risk from harvesting as pets and for trade in skin, food and traditional Chinese medicine products. The species suffers high levels of persecution by humans throughout its range.