Maharashtra: Rescue centers established for crocodiles swept away by floods
(Sourced from PTI)
With crocodiles being spotted in some residential localities of Sangli after flooding due to heavy rains, the forest department has set up six centers in such areas to rescue the reptiles and avoid incidents of human-animal conflict, officials said on Wednesday. Sangli in western Maharashtra was hit by heavy downpour recently, leading to inundation at several places in the district.
Later, as the rain intensity ebbed and the water level in villages along the Krishna river banks started coming down, crocodiles were spotted on some roads, in drains, and even on the roofs of houses, triggering panic among people.
According to forest officials, crocodiles inhabit 60-70 kilometer of the river stretch passing through around 15 villages, including Bhilwadi, Malwadi, Digraj, Audumbarwadi, Chopadewadi, and Brahmnal. In the past, there have been incidents of human-animal conflicts in some of these areas. In one case, a crocodile was spotted on the roof of a house, but it later returned to the river along with water flow.
Deputy Conservator of Forest (Sangli) Vijay Mane said the six centers have been established near flood-hit areas of Sangli city, Kavthe Mahakal, Palus, Kadegaon, Walwa, and Tasgaon parts for rescuing crocodiles. "At these rescue centers, teams comprising forest officials, guards, and NGO members will respond to calls of the presence of crocodiles, snakes, injured birds, and other wild animals in human habitats," he said.
"We have circulated a toll-free helpline number (1926) and personal numbers of forest officials and NGO members," the official said. "If someone calls to inform about the presence of crocodile or any other wild animal, the team from the nearest center will go there, rescue the animal and initiate a process to release it into its natural habitat," he said.
"The objective of these rescue centers is to prevent any harm to the wild animals and minimize incidents of human-animal conflict," he added. Tabreg Khan, a member of the NGO Nature Conservation Society in Sangli, claimed the natural habitat of crocodiles along the Krishna river has been destroyed due to indiscriminate sand excavation activities.
"Now, during floods, the animals easily get swept away toward villages," he rued and appealed to people not to harm crocodiles and inform the forest department and NGOs if they spot the reptile in their area.