A tip-off to Hanoi environment police saved two king cobras from certain death on Sunday.
Acting on information supplied by traders at Hanoi’s Dong Xuan Market, police caught two people transporting the protected snakes to a hotel by motorbike. The snakes, weighing a combined 6 kilograms, were in a bag inside a cardboard box.
The two traders said they had bought the snakes at a village in Gia Lam suburban district and sold them to Hai Ha hotel in Hanoi.
Police handed the two cobras to Soc Son Wildlife Rescue Center in Soc Son District, 35 kilometers outside Hanoi.
The king cobra (Ophiophagus hannah), the world's longest venomous snake, can grow to 6.7 meters. The species is widespread throughout Southeast Asia and parts of India, mostly in forested areas.
The Vietnamese government has banned the trade, transport and slaughter of the king cobra. Despite the ban, king cobra meat and traditional medicine made from the snakes are still relatively popular.