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Crocodile captured, sent back to forest

The 8ft reptile, identified by foresters as an adult female, was first spotted in a canal in Shibganj village, around 4km from Patharpratima block

Debraj Mitra | Published 12.05.22, 08:55 AM
The saltwater crocodile after being captured on Wednesday.

The saltwater crocodile after being captured on Wednesday.

A saltwater crocodile spotted inside a canal in a village in South 24-Parganas was captured and released into the wild on Tuesday.

The 8ft crocodile, identified by foresters as an adult female, was first spotted in a canal in Shibganj village, around 4km from Patharpratima block. The block falls under Kakdwip subdivision, over 100km from Kolkata.

A team of forest guards visited the spot on Monday but failed to find the reptile.

On Tuesday, the crocodile pounced on a goat grazing near the bank of the canal and dragged it into a nearby pond.

Another team from the forest department arrived and tried to capture the crocodile. They were successful after over an hour’s efforts, said villagers.

With the help of villagers, the pond was cordoned off with fishing nets.

After the crocodile was rescued, it was first taken for a round of medical tests.

Later in the day, the crocodile was released into a creek near Thakuran river, said forest officials.

“The reptile is suspected to have crossed the river

bank during high tide,” said Ashim Kumar Dandapat, the range officer of Ramganga range.

The largest and heaviest living reptile in the world, the saltwater crocodile is found in eastern India, Southeast Asia, and northern Australia. Males can grow up to 20 feet and weigh over 1,000 kg.

Apart from size, high tolerance for salinity separates saltwater crocodiles from its cousins like gharials, muggers and caimans.

In the Sunderbans, it is the top aquatic predator, feeding on anything it can get jaws on — water buffalo, monkeys and wild boar.

“When in water, a saltwater crocodile can overpower a tiger,” said a forest official. In 2011, a tiger was killed by a crocodile at Dobanki camp of Sunderbans Tiger Reserve.

In May 2018, a 15ft saltwater crocodile had entered a pond in Gosaba in the same district. Foresters had rescued it in a three-hour operation.

Last updated on 12.05.22, 08:55 AM
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