The Mugger crocodile, (Crocodylus Palustris) also called the Marsh crocodile, is native to the Indian subcontinent, Sri Lanka, Burma, Pakistan and some parts of Iran. It is most commonly found in freshwater environments such as rivers, lakes, hill streams, village ponds and human made reservoirs. They are opportunistic carnivore and feed on any animal smaller than itself including other crocodiles. Wildlife SOS works with many crocodiles that often find themselves in conflict situations in villages around Uttar Pradesh and the outskirts of Delhi NCR and in Gujarat, and also conducts awareness workshops on mitigation techniques to ensure people take correct safety measures when faced with such situations.
In a recent incident in Agra, residents of Nagla Mohkam village were left fearing for their lives after a large mugger crocodile was spotted in a Bajra field .The Forest Department was immediately alerted about the incident; Range Forest Officer then contacted the Wildlife SOS team to assist in providing the crocodile a safe respite.
Forest officers and local residents believe that the crocodile had wandered into the village through a canal leading up to the agricultural fields.
We immediately dispatched a four-member team that drove nearly 120 km to reach the location. By that time a large crowd had gathered around the field to catch a glimpse of the massive seven-feet long crocodile. After ensuring that the on-lookers were safely away at a distance from the agitated reptile our team geared with necessary equipment and safely carried out the rescue operation.
As they wanted to avoid capturing the crocodile by force and causing any harm, our rescuers set up a trap cage with bait. Once safely confined, our veterinarians conducted an onsite – medical examination to ensure that the animal was in good health. The crocodile was later released in the Yamuna river on Narangi Ghat in the presence of Forest officials.
When dealing with powerful wild animals like crocodiles, our teams have to exercise extreme restraint and caution to ensure no harm befalls either on the animal or the humans nearby. Crowd control often becomes essential to such sensitive rescues as large crowds can stress the animal causing it to lash out, and the expertise of our highly trained rescuers is the corner stone of our operations.
It is essential that we remain sensitive to the presence of wild animals and learn to co-exist.