North Cotabato braces for King Cobra attacks, procures antivenom

By John Unson

Residents in North Cotabato province have panicked over frequent sightings for months now of venomous King Cobra slithering through their farms, with a number of people killed in attacks.

North Cotabato Gov. Nancy Catamco, chairperson of the provincial disaster risk reduction and management council, announced Tuesday that her office has allocated funds for the procurement of antivenomΒ for snakebite patients.

The residents have killed no fewer than 50 large King Cobras, known in local vernaculars as β€œBanakon.”

Netizens have shared the photos of these slain King Cobras on Facebook, which have gone viral.

The latest to die from a King Cobra attack in the province was a grade school girl in Arakan. A King Cobra had attacked her while she was on her way to to check on their grazing farm animals.

Catamco said she has requested experts from different government agencies to study why King Cobras have become restive.

Catamco and municipal officials believed the series of strong tremors that jolted the province in late 2019 may have possibly spooked and forced the King Cobras out from their natural habitats.

β€œJust the same, we need the opinion of experts,” Catamco said.

β€œMeantime, we have to store antivenom as part of our contingency measures,” she added.

Catamco said she has instructed the local officials in the province to educate their constituents.

The people should know what to do and how to respond to snakebite cases, she said.

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