Crocodiles: India

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This is a collection of articles archived for the excellence of their content.



Vadodara district

Tushar Tere, February 9, 2021: The Times of India

Crocodiles in Vadodara district, 2001-20
From: Tushar Tere, February 9, 2021: The Times of India

Over 1,000 crocodiles find cosy homes in Vadodara district

VADODARA: This is a truly jaw-dropping rise! The first census to ascertain number of crocodiles in Vadodara district has revealed that there are at least 1,000 reptiles in the waterbodies. Officials involved in the census say Vadodara easily has the highest number of crocodiles among all districts of Gujarat.

In Vishwamitri river, which passes through the city, their numbers have swelled four times to 270 in the last 20 years.

“During the census conducted in Vishwamitri River our teams spotted over 270 crocodiles. This included the adults as well as baby crocodiles that are reside in different parts of the river. The count of crocodiles in entire Vadodara district crosses 1,000 mark,” said Kartik Maharaj, deputy conservator of forests (DCF), Vadodara.

Apart from Vishwamitri River, forest officials also counted crocodiles in Dhadhar River, Dev River, Mahi River, Ajwa Lake and about 50 ponds in the entire district.

“This was the first such comprehensive census wherein we included crocodiles living in all the talukas. Many of the ponds in the talukas are home to crocodiles. One of the main reasons for these reptiles being found in so many ponds is the Narmada canal which has a vast network. Many crocodiles swim through the canal and migrate to different water bodies,” Maharaj explained.

In Vadodara city, majority of the crocodiles were spotted in stretches between Bhimnath Bridge to Central Jail, Sayajibaug and near Kala Ghoda Circle.

As many as 11 teams of the forest department were formed to count the crocodiles in two parts – one in day time and another at night. The forest teams walked around the 17-km stretch of Vishwamitri River starting from Vadodara-Ahmedabad Expressway to Talsat village in Makarpura to count the reptiles.

“Arouind 60% of the crocodiles measuring over five foot are adults while the rest between two feet to five foot are baby crocodiles in Vishwamitri River,” Maharaj told TOI.

In the 2015 census, the river was home to 260 crocodiles. “The numbers have gone up in the latest census as crocodiles staying in Vishwamitri River have no natural enemy. They have adapted to the environs and get enough food too,” he added.

“The crocodiles have learnt to co-habit with Barodians and both respect each other’s boundaries. These reptiles have evolved since ages and learnt the art of surviving in any environment,” said Arvind Pawar of Wildlife Rescue Trust (WRT).

Madhya Pradesh



Ramendra Singh, February 22, 2022: The Times of India

BHOPAL: Add crocs to Bhopal's natural attractions. There are a whopping 22 crocodiles in Bhopal, says the first such census carried out by the forest department.

With 17-18 tigers believed to be living in forests that surround the city, Bhopal is a true example of living cozily with the wild as these animals are not on the fringes but very much in the vicinity of residential areas and educational institutions.

As many as 21 crocs live in Kaliasot lake and one in Kerwa -- both popular hangout zones. Two gharials have been spotted in Kaliasot. The census also identified 103 bird species in the locality in the three-day census. The report ends with the remark that the safety and security of both humans and reptiles have equal priority.

“During the first crocodile and bird census of Kerwa and Kaliasot dams, 22 crocodiles and two gharials have been identified. There are nine adults, 12 sub-adults and one juvenile,” Zoological Survey of India scientist Dr Pratyush Mohapatra told TOI.

All the adult crocodiles are above 9 feet in size, sub-adults are below 6 feet and juveniles are below 3 feet, he added. “It is good to see the presence of ghariyals in an area which is not native to them,” said Mohapatra.

Around 50 people from government and private agencies participated in the census carried out under the joint aegis of Forest Division and Bhopal Birds Association.

Mohd Khalik of Bhopal Birds Association said 103 species of birds were identified. “The important ones we found are the painted stork, woolly neck stork, Brahmani shelduck, spot billed duck, river lapwing, large cormorant, little cormorant, pintail, little grebe, ruff, black wing stilt, little ring plover, gray heron, wheat wagtail, river tern, red crested pochard, crested serpent eagle, open bill stork and common sandpiper,” said Khalik.

Is the presence of so many crocodiles in lakes frequented by thousands of visitors a risk? In June 2020, a crocodile attacked a swimmer in Kaliasot and bit of a chunk of flesh from his thigh. He had a lucky escape. Swimming is banned in Kaliasot and Kerwa reservoirs but people do sneak in for a dip. There have been three croc attacks in Bhopal. In June 2011, a 17-year-old was killed by a crocodile and in September 2014, a 46-year old man was attacked when he was fishing.

The census team has suggested that safety and security of both humans and animals should be the priority, said Mahapatra, adding: “We have suggested putting up more signboards and deployment of guards near both reservoirs so that the ecosystem remains undisturbed.”

Bhopal DFO Alok Pathak said 17-18 tigers are seen in Bhopal. “Bhopal is a part of the tiger movement corridor from Ratapani to Nauradehi. During their movement, sometimes tigers stay put for a while and are spotted,” said Pathak. Earlier this month, a tiger got into the quarters of the Bhoj University vice-chancellor on campus and triggered quite a scare.


Ghodahada reservoir

Crocodiles and humans coexist peacefully in Odisha village, January 12, 2018: The Hindu

Forty-five crocodiles or muggers were spotted during the forest department's annual enumeration at the Ghodahada reservoir and its adjoining ponds in Ganjam district of Odisha.

The presence of crocodiles in this irrigation reservoir spread over five square kilometres has been attributed to humans.

During the British era, a zamindar family had kept a few crocodiles in a large tank adjacent to the Ujjaleswar temple. Forest officials say some crocodiles from the temple tank escaped into the reservoir during floods.

According to the annual crocodile census held on January 8, 28 muggers have have been sighted in the Ghodahada reservoir while 17 were found in the seven ponds near it. The Ujjaleswar temple tank has four.

But forest officials feel their real numbers might be higher. In the 2017 census, 55 muggers were sighted in the region and 39 of them were found within the reservoir.

To get an accurate figure of the crocodiles, the forest department has decided to conduct another enumeration at the end of winter.

Crocodiles of the reservoir or those in the ponds have not harmed any of the villagers, who are mostly fishermen, to date. Fishermen of the area have formed a Maa Ramchandi Crocodile Protection Committee, which is involved in the conservation of the reptiles in the reservoir and the ponds.

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