A ten-foot-long estuarine crocodile that had strayed into an irrigation canal was caught alive by forest personnel much to the relief of residents of a village in Odisha’s Kendrapara district.
The croc had sneaked into the canal in Padmanabhpur village lying on the fringe of Bhitarkanika national park.
Earlier on 20 September, an eight-foot-long estuarine crocodile that had strayed into a community pond Vektakola village under Rajnagar tehsil to eat fish and aquatic species had been caught alive by forest personnel.
The crocodile was later released in the Baunsagadi rivulet, the habitat of these reptiles, said forest officials on Wednesday.
A fisherman sighted the reptile in the pond and raised the alarm. The panicked villagers later informed the forest personnel who later rescued it in a swift operation.
We are relieved a lot as the crocodile has been warded off from the irrigation canal, which is often used by locals for taking bath. We were frightened to see the croc in the water body, said local residents.
The crocs used to stray in search of food in village areas. They often leave the place for their original habitat within a few days as per their natural instinct, said the wildlife personnel.
Lethal assault by the reptiles and consequent retaliatory attack by humans has become a regular feature in this part of the state. Most often, the mishaps occur when the victims intrude into the animal’s habitat, for illegal fishing, poaching, fuel wood collection and honey collection.
The conflict and consequent loss of human lives are most frequently recorded during the monsoon and winter months, the nesting season of the estuarine crocodiles.
“The department is prioritizing safety of local people. People need to remain watchful and vigilant. People could ensure their own safety by keeping safe distance crocodile-infested water-bodies. The bathing ghats in the river-side villages have been covered under protective bamboo barricades. Advisories have been issued to people to take bath in the barricaded areas”, said Rajnagar Mangrove (wildlife) Forest Division, J.D. Pati.
The salt-water crocodile population in Bhitarkanika has increased manifold from 96 in 1975 to 1768 so far.