14th April, 2012 – Two critically endangered King Cobras (Ophiophagus hannah) weighing roughly 30kg were successfully released to Cat Tien National Park by Wildlife At Risk (WAR) in cooperation with Forest Protection Department of Ho Chi Minh City. One Leopard Cat (Prionailurus bengalensiss) and five Elongated Tortoise (Indotestudo elongata) were also released. The President and other Buddhist monks from the Hoang Phap Pagoda, Hoc Mon district, Ho Chi Minh City and journalists of La7 TV Channel from Italy joined WAR staff on releasing these endangered species back where they belong. The two King Cobras were bought and transferred to the Pagoda by a Ho Chi Minh City resident for “good-luck” releasing. The Buddhist monks from the Hoang Phap Pagoda decided to hand over the King Cobras to the Cu Chi Wildlife Rescue Station (CCWRS) one month ago. This is the first time the pagoda has joined WAR released endangered animals to the wild. .
Buddhist monks pray for the animals before releasing-©WAR King Cobras and Leopard Cats are both threatened with extinction and classified as “critically endangered”. They are rarely found in wild due to habitat destruction but mainly due to the illegal wildlife trade. ElongatedTortoises are also being pushed to the brink of extinction and could soon face extinction unless they were protected. “This is the first time, a pagoda in Ho Chi Minh has joined WAR releasing wildlife back to the wild. The King Cobras and Leopard Cat were handed over voluntarily to CCWRS. This is a good signal that shows increasing public awareness in rescuing and releasing endangered wildlife back to the wild.”said Mr.Lam Le Xuan, Manager of CCWRS.Wildlife At Risk wishes to thank the Buddhist monks from Hoang Phap Pagoda and highly appreciates individuals for their collaboration and contribution in saving Vietnam’s Endangered Wildlife.