Cobra nabbed in stadium

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NEW DELHI, September 27- Snake catchers in New Delhi said Monday they had removed an adult cobra from the newly built tennis centre that will be used next week for the Commonwealth Games."We were requested by the Games authorities to help them rescue a snake spotted in the R.K. Khanna tennis stadium," Kartick Satyanarayan, head of animal conservation group Wildlife SOS India, told AFP.

"We caught the snake and we removed it from the premises."

On Sunday, South African High Commissioner Harris Mbulelo Mejeke also complained about a snake found in one of the rooms of his country’s athletes in the Games village.

"If snakes are found we can’t ask our teams to stay there," Mejeke told reporters before entering the village.

"That was a threat to the lives of our athletes. Very disappointing," he added.

The Games are mired in a range of problems from unfinished athletes’ accommodation to security fears, an outbreak of mosquito-borne dengue fever and doubts about public safety after the collapse of a new footbridge last week.

Snakes and particularly the King Cobra are venerated in India as religious symbols worn by Lord Shiva, the god of destruction.

India has 238 species of the reptile, of which 50 are poisonous.

Delhi authorities said last Friday they had also begun rounding up stray dogs that have been spotted in a number of venues for the Games, which begin on Sunday.

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