A nearly four-feet-long crocodile was rescued by the Wildlife SOS and the Uttar Pradesh forest department officials and successfully relocated, officials said on Friday.
The reptile was first spotted by residents of Garh ka Pura village, Pinahat in a local pond earlier this month.
The panic-stricken villagers alerted the forest department who in turn requested the assistance of Wildlife SOS in carrying out the rescue operation.
A three-member team of experts from Wildlife SOS along with forest officials set up a trap cage on the banks of the pond.
After almost 15 days, the crocodile eventually emerged on Thursday night and was successfully caught. The reptile was kept under observation for a few hours and was released in the Chambal River on Friday.
The Mugger crocodile (Crocodylus palustris) also called the Indian or marsh crocodile is listed as ‘vulnerable’ on the IUCN Reed List and is protected under Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act 1972.
This species is found in freshwater habitats including ponds, rivers, lakes and marshes and they can migrate considerable distances over land in search of a more suitable habitat.
Baiju Raj M V, Director Conservation Projects, Wildlife SOS, said, “As we wanted to avoid capturing the crocodile by force and causing it any harm, we set up a trap cage with bait. We have released the reptile in Chambal River as it is home to large breeding populations of mugger crocodiles and gharials.”
Amit Sisodiya, Range Forest Officer (Pinahat) said it was likely that the reptile had wandered into the village through a canal leading up to the river.
Shortly after the rescue mission, the Wildlife SOS team was alerted to another crocodile that had been reportedly sighted in a pond in Utsana village, Pinahat.
The team has set up a trap cage in the area and the situation was being closely monitored.