CHENNAI: Villagers of Nedukundram near Vandalur forest range were in panic on Saturday as they spotted a crocodile nearly six-foot long. Residents claim to have spotted it tangled in one of the fishing nets.
What surprised the residents was that the adult crocodile had escaped the sight of villagers and fishermen all these years before it was finally found basking near the nets.
“We saw a crocodile more than a year ago, but forest officials rescued it. We don’t know where this came from,” said Moideen A, of Nedukundram.
However, crocodile sighting in the waterbodies near Arignar Anna Zoological Park is not a new phenomenon. Villagers and forest officials have spotted crocodiles in the waterbodies in Nedukundram, Alapakkam and Sadanandapuram near Vandalur.
These reptiles are mostly observed during intense summers that follow a drought. When the water level dips, these crocodiles become more visible in the marshy areas.
But how do these crocodiles make it from the zoo or forest to waterbodies without being noticed by the villagers?
“In most cases, birds usually lift crocodile hatchlings from open enclosures or other waterbodies. They may end up dropping the small ones accidentally. The hatchlings find their way to the nearest waterbody,” said K Geethanjali, wildlife warden, Chennai.
She suspected that the same crocodile was spotted near Sadandapuram a few months ago. “In order to rescue the animal and bring it back to the zoo, we may have to drain the waterbody fully. That may not be possible now and we may have to wait till the lake dries out a little more,” she said, adding that the Forest department will be putting up warning signs around the lake.
However, the crocodile that was spotted by villagers on Saturday morning was not to be found again. Local government bodies are considering to stop fishing activities temporarily.