A man in China has been detained after he was caught on camera "liberating" a cobra at a local park in Xiangtan in Hunan province.
After surveillance footage of the unidentified man releasing the venomous snake at the public spot emerged on the internet, several viewers notified the police immediately, according to South China Morning Post.
A team of firefighters was dispatched to find the snake but it has not been found yet. The park operators, as a result, had to issue a warning to tourists about the snake, which is among the deadliest in the world.
The man, who is being held for five days, reportedly set the cobra free to perform "Fang Sheng" or "mercy release/life release," an ancient Buddhist ritual in which followers free captive animals to generate good karma through an act of kindness. There are an estimated 245 million Buddhists in China, which is officially an atheist country.
However, National Geographic noted "a tradition that once encouraged the spontaneous release of doomed animals has today become a commercial enterprise in which people buy animals specifically to release them. The process may injure—or even kill—them."
In addition, these abrupt releases also pose a danger to humans, as in the case of the Xiangtan park release.
In a similarly disturbing example, nearly 50 members of a Buddhist group called, "Let Blessings and Wisdom Grow" released thousands of snakes in a small village, without warning. Consequently, villagers were scared for their safety because some of the serpents were spotted inside their homes.
Thumbnail Credits :Reuters/Adnan Abidi