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Weekly Pullouts » Haryana Tribune

Posted at: Jul 7, 2018, 12:50 AM; last updated: Jul 7, 2018, 12:50 AM (IST)

Don’t panic on seeing crocodiles, villagers told

Vishal Joshi

State wildlife officials have urged villagers living in the vicinity of the Crocodile Breeding Centre at Bhor Saidan village in Kurukshetra district to be extra vigilant about sighting reptiles in the open during the rainy season when they usually venture out.

In the last one decade, more than 12 crocodiles have been rescued from Mukimpura, Bibipur and Dabkheri villages. Villagers get panicky on spotting crocodiles in fields or dried up drains. The department claims the reptiles seem to have natural colonies in the area.

Divisional Wildlife Forest Officer SS Rawat claims the reptiles spotted in the villages did not escape from the well-fenced breeding centre, the only one in north India.

“It is believed that the area around the Bibipur lake and the Saraswati drain near the breeding centre are natural habitats of crocodiles. Though crocodiles of all sizes have been rescued, no incident of a reptile attacking humans or animals has ever been reported. Our team of experts at the centre is ready 24x7 to rescue the wildlife,” says Rawat.

As per a popular belief, late Mahant Jamuna Gir, a priest, had brought a pair of crocodile hatchlings and released it into the pond of the ancient Bhomeshwar Temple here in the early 1930s. The temple pond, located on the Kurukshetra-Pehowa road, was handed over to the state authorities in 1987 for a crocodile breeding centre.

Sources say it is feared that several crocodiles were washed away during massive flooding of the area in the late 80s. Over the years, the escaped crocodiles laid eggs in rural pockets having less human habitation. 

Rawat says scanning of the entire region and rescue operations for crocodiles is a big project. “There is no immediate plan to initiate a drive where the role of a professional wildlife institute is required. But we are advising villagers to alert our teams if they spot crocodile eggs or a reptile anywhere,” he adds. 

The problem of plenty: What started as an effort to preserve the wildlife is turning into a problem for the Haryana Forest Department. There has been a sharp increase in the population of crocodiles at the farm and an estimated 50 animals are in the water body.

Rawat says a census of reptiles in the pond will be done during the winters when they bask in the sun. “Crocodiles rescued from villages are also released into the pond. Like several species, crocodiles also eat weaker reptiles and a census will give the exact data. As the number of crocodiles is quite high across the country, there is no special programme for their breeding,” he says.

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