On Sunday, near a construction sight in Mumbai was a drain where a 4.4 foot long crocodile was found and rescued.
It took a grueling 7 hours for the forest officials and animal rescue groups to get hold of the reptile which weighed over 8 kgs. They were able to capture the reptile into a net and get it out of the drains near Yogi hills in Mulund.
Residents of a housing complex were the first ones to spot the reptile at 3 pm on Sunday. They then immediately called the Resqink Association for Wildlife Welfare (RAWW).
Pawan Sharma, president, RAWW said, “We reached Aristo construction site in Mulund (west) and located the crocodile.”
Tulsi and Vihar lakes inside Sanjay Gandhi National Park are some of the Mumbai regions where crocodiles are found. These areas are situated within the city boundaries. Even Powai lake is an area where crocodiles can be spotted. Hence, this is not the first time they have been spotted out of their territory. They are mostly found during the rainy seasons or during floods.
It still remains unclear to the RAWW members as to from where the reptile emerged. Jitendra Ramgaokar, deputy conservator of forests said “We suspect that this crocodile may have been pushed into the drainage system when Tulsi or Vihar lakes overflowed last monsoon, and that it survived in the drains all this while.Though the reptile was small, it was necessary to conduct a rescue operation so as to avoid any dangerous situations at the site.”
The RAWW and Mumbai forest range officials together formed a 15-member team to be part of the rescue operation. “Our team surveyed all possible exit points for the reptile from the drain and secured them. We used halogen lights to identify its exact location, and water pumps to reduce water levels before pulling it out,” Sharma said.
After the water level of the drain was brought down, the rescues eventually found the reptile at about 8.45 pm.
Sharma said “We set up nets in the drain and tried to move the crocodile into them thrice, but failed,” he said. “Finally, around 1 am, we changed the position of the nets and managed to snag it.”
After finally managing to get the crocodile out of the drain, it was sent to the forest department to be examined for sort of injuries. Dr. Rina Dev, a forest department recognized veterinarian was the one to examine the reptile. She identified the reptile as a five- to six-year-old male marsh crocodile.
On Monday, after the crocodile was declared fit enough to be released, the RAWW team released the reptile into its natural habitat. Ramgaohar added that the location would not be disclosed for the crocodile’s protection.