Elusive crocodile captured near Vedaranyam in Tamil Nadu, to be taken to habitat

The department made at least three prior attempts before succeeding in their fourth try. The crocodile was initially sighted at Puthukulam pond in Vembathevankadu on April 21.
Forest department officials arrived and successfully retrieved the reptile.
Forest department officials arrived and successfully retrieved the reptile.

NAGAPATTINAM: An elusive five-foot-long crocodile that struck terror among residents of a village near Vedaranyam in the district for the past six months was captured alive by the forest department on Wednesday. Plans are on to transport the reptile to a crocodile habitat near Anaikkarai. Weighing around 50 kilograms, the crocodile had been a cause for concern among residents of Vembathevankadu since April.

The department made at least three prior attempts before succeeding in their fourth try. The crocodile was initially sighted at Puthukulam pond in Vembathevankadu on April 21. The forest department received the information and inspected the pond. Puthukulam spans around three acres and typically fills up with rainwater and discharge from farmers' fields in surrounding villages. "People, especially workers in salt pans, used to bathe in Puthukulam.

Additionally, the herds of cattle and horses quench their thirst at the pond. However, everyone became apprehensive after learning about the crocodile's presence," shared Shetty Selvam, a ward member of Vedaranyam municipality. There are several theories regarding the crocodile's origin, since the nearest crocodile habitat is 120 kilometres away, near Anaikkarai.

While some believe it could have been washed as a hatchling through regulators linked to River Vennaru another possibility hinted at was that the reptile arrived, either as an egg or a hatchling, with sand mining activities on the Kollidam river bed and was transported to Vedaranyam via trucks. Another speculation is that the crocodile managed to traverse downstream rivers and channels from the Grand Anaicut (Kallanai).

From the day it was sighted, forest department staff from Vedaranyam Range, headed by Ranger B Ayub Khan, thrice attempted to set up nets in Puthukulam pond, but in vain. Around a month ago, the staff set up a new net. Wednesday witnessed unusual movements in the pond noticed by locals, revealing that the crocodile had become entangled in the net.

Forest department officials arrived and successfully retrieved the reptile. "It is evident that the crocodile likely arrived as a young hatchling, visiting the pond in search of prey. We are securely transporting the crocodile and plan to release it into the crocodile habitat near Anaikkarai," said Khan.

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