An eight-foot-long estuarine crocodile that had strayed into a community pond 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 pond in Vektakola village under Rajnagar tehsil to eat fish and aquatic species.
The crocodile was later released in the Baunsagadi rivulet, the habitat of these reptiles, said forest officials on Tuesday.
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 pond. We were frightened to see the croc in the water body, said a local Manmath Ray.
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, fuelwood 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 salt-water crocodile population in Bhitarkanika has increased manifold from 96 in 1975 to 1768 so far.