Rainy Rescues: Wildlife SOS Saves Reptiles In Vadodara

August 16, 2023 | By Neellohit Banerjee
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As the monsoon season brings heavy rains, Vadodara is inundated with reptiles. Consequently, the Wildlife SOS-GSPCA helpline gets flooded (pun unintended!) with rescue calls from in and around the city. During this period, the rescuers roll up their sleeves and prepare themselves for more calls than usual. To their surprise, the team rescued six crocodiles in a single month.

In the beginning of July, Vadodara was battered by a two-day rain spell. Following the rain and flooding, residents of Vishwamitri township were left bewildered when they spotted a mugger crocodile in the middle of the road. Concerned for the safety of the residents, one of the onlookers immediately informed Wildlife SOS on our 24×7 rescue helpline, operating in collaboration with the Gujarat Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (GSPCA).

Wildlife SOS-GSCPA rescued a juveline crocodile that was stranded on the road near a housing society. [Photo (c) Wildlife SOS]

The team reached the location with the requisite equipment and protective gear. In a late-night operation, the rescuers initially struggled to find the reptile but eventually extricated the juvenile crocodile and brought it to safety.

On the same night, the Wildlife SOS-GSPCA team also attended to a rescue call from Dumad village, located approximately 10 km from the city. Aware of the NGO’s work, the villagers informed our team about a crocodile’s presence in an agricultural field. The Wildlife SOS-GSPCA Rapid Response Unit then reached the location with the necessary rescue gear and safely extricated the 4-foot-long reptile. Both the crocodiles were found healthy and were handed over to the state forest department.

The NGO’s team rescued two crocodiles on the same night. [Photo (c) Wildlife SOS]

Vadodara experiences heavy rainfall every year during the monsoon season that alters the look of the terrain drastically in some parts. Flooding causes the levels for all water bodies to rise up to the same level as the land. In the above mentioned cases, this kind of situation forced crocodiles out of their habitat. As soon as the water receded, it left the reptiles stranded on dry land.

Towards the end of the month, thrashing rain hit Vadodara once again, keeping our Rapid Response Unit on its toes. The rescue members had to rush to save two crocodiles within a span of two days! The first crocodile was found early in the morning from Lalbagh Rajmahal Road near Kashi Vishwanath Mandir. It was an extremely young crocodile that had strayed from its natural habitat due to the excessive rain. The rescue team from Wildlife SOS-GSPCA arrived at the scene with the necessary equipment and protective gear, and safely extricated the reptile.

In a separate incident at Karelibagh, the team encountered a two-foot-long crocodile. The alert residents had informed the Wildlife SOS-GSPCA team about the reptile’s presence in front of Jalaram temple. Both rescued crocodiles were handed over to the Gujarat Forest Department, who were later released back into the wild.

The team rescued a crocodile in near darkness from Dumad village near Vadodara. [Photo (c) Wildlife SOS]

The month concluded with two more crocodile rescues, one from Dumad village and the second one from near Rajmahal Palace. The former involved the rescue of a 4-foot-long crocodile, and what made it challenging was the absence of any light source in the surrounding areas. However, the rescuers were able to overcome the hurdle and extricate the crocodile safely.

The recent spell of rains in Vadodara increased the number of reptile sightings in the city. In the month of July, the Wildlife SOS-GSPCA team rescued several monitor lizards and snakes including Indian cobra (Naja naja), Indian rat snake (Ptyas mucosa), checkered keelback (Xenochrophis piscator), common cat snake (Boiga trigonata) and common trinket snake (Coelognathus helena helena) to name a few.

The onset of monsoon poses an unwelcome disruption to the lives of reptiles. The flooding of the snakes’ natural habitats such as burrows and dens leave them vulnerable and displaced. An urban place like Vadodara is home to quite a few snake species, and when their own homes are filled with water, the snakes often resort to taking shelter in residences, schools, commercial areas and public places.

A common cat snake rescued from a locality in Vadodara. [Photo (c) Wildlife SOS]

The citizens though are familiar with one more reptilian neighbour – the mugger crocodile. During the rainy season, it is not uncommon for the residents of Vadodara to come across crocodiles on land. Though it might be shocking for many to hear crocodiles wandering on the streets, it is a recurring phenomenon in Vadodara and one of the reasons why the people are used to this particular annual affair.

The primary reason behind this is the presence of the Vishwamitri river that flows very close to Vadodara. The river is a primary crocodile habitat and holds one of the highest populations of muggers in Gujarat. That is why every year, our dedicated rescue team and its members work their fingers to the bone to help these reptiles from the angst of displacement.

Every month, Wildlife SOS receives hundreds of calls regarding distressed animals trapped in urban areas. Wildlife SOS operates 24×7 emergency rescue helplines in four regions:

Delhi NCR – +91-9871963535

Agra & Mathura in Uttar Pradesh – +91-9917109666

Vadodara, Gujarat – +91-9825011117

Jammu & Kashmir – +91-7006692300, +91-9419778280

If you come across any wild animal in distress, do alert our rescue teams on these numbers as soon as possible.

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Hotline Number | हॉटलाइन नंबर

Delhi NCT Region +91-9871963535
Agra Region (UP) +91-9917109666
Vadodra Region +91-9825011117
J&K Region +91 7006692300
+91 9419778280