THE King Cobra which bit a Cebu City zoo keeper will have to stay in captivity to prevent it from biting someone else, said Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama.
The wild snake has refused to eat since it was caught Tuesday last week outside the zoo gate, giving rise to questions of what to do with it.
The mayor said he may consider giving the serpent to individuals capable of taking care of it.
“If we free it back to the wild, there is a possibility it would bite someone else. It would be better to give it to someone who knows how to take care of it, maybe in Manila,” said the mayor.
Soham Mukherjee of the Humane Society International earlier said the glass aquariam used by the zoo was too small, and that the King Cobra should be released back into the wild to allow it to survive since it only eats live snakes. (Zoo staff had tried to feed it rodents but the cobra ignored them.)
Zoo keeper Ronaldo “Ronron” Aventurado, who survived a near-fatal bite after e anti-snake venom was flown in from Camiguin province, was due for release from the Cebu City Medical Center (CCMC) yesterday.
The city government will take care of his hospital bills and other medical needs during recovery, said the mayor.
Zoo administrator Giovanni Romarate is proposing to put up a serpentarium so the King Cobra will be a zoo attraction.
But Rama said funding was not available for that.
Rama said he will discuss with Gov. Gwen Garcia what the Capitol’s plans are since the province has a pending ownership claim in court over the zoo property.
“If the governor wants us to be doing joint operations of the zoo then we will have to discuss that. If she wants to sell the property then, we will buy it provided the price is not expensive,” he said.
The mayor said that if lot ownership is already clarified, the Cebu city government could explore improving zoo facilities and acquiring new animals.
He said that a well equipped zoo would raise revenues that could support its own operations.
Rama cited the case of Fort San Pedro which was only earning a few thousands of pesos from gate receipts before it was rehabilitated.
Now it is earning at least P1 million a year, he said. /Doris C. Bongcac, Chief of Reporters