CHENNAI: A WhatsApp forward reportedly showing an adult crocodile moving in the floodwaters of Guduvanchery has caused panic, forcing the Forest Department to deploy a team to scout the area. The Guduvanchery-Kelambakkam stretch had been flooding.
In the widely-circulated video, a mugger crocodile, also known as marsh crocodile, was seen. However, The New Indian Express was not able to verify the authenticity of the video.
Chief Wildlife Warden Shekhar Kumar Niraj has asked the public in the area to keep vigil and report any direct sighting to Arignar Anna Zoological Park (AAZP) in Vandalur. "I also appeal to people to not spread fake or old videos, which may cause unnecessary panic and create law and order issues. Verified information can be passed on to AAZP. The zoo is equipped with vehicles and rescue teams," he said.
Vandalur Zoo Director V Karuna Priya said, "Around 2.30 pm, we received the video. Immediately, I sent out animal keepers with a vehicle and they searched the Guduvanchery area on the highway. The team also interacted with local people, but didn’t get anything to substantiate the social media claims."
The Tambaram forest ranger has been instructed to check for any stray incident and to keep vigil around the area. However, Chennai DFO Priyadharshini said the object found moving in the video is not a crocodile. "We contacted the person who posted the video on Facebook. It looks like some debris mistaken for a crocodile," said Priyadharshini.
There is a revenue lake, Nedugundram, adjoining the Vandalur zoo. A crocodile was spotted there three years ago and subsequently, fishing was banned in the lake.