Crocodiles: India

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Gujarat

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).


Odisha

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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