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Baby crocodiles go ‘missing’ at Chhatbir

Fifteen baby crocodiles born at Chhatbir Zoological Park three months ago have gone missing under mysterious circumstances over a couple of weeks...

Fifteen baby crocodiles born at Chhatbir Zoological Park three months ago have gone missing under mysterious circumstances over a couple of weeks. Earlier,the authorities had been doubting that the only male crocodile at the zoo may have eaten the hatchlings,but after the zoo officials noticed one of the missing crocodiles back inside the fencing a few days ago,they have been suspecting the crocodiles to have hibernated in the sand. Arrangements are being made to screen the sand heaps there with the hope of tracing the crocodiles out.

The breeding of crocodiles at Chhatbir zoo has always been a challenge for the authorities. Three female crocodiles had given birth to dozens of crocodiles in the last two years; but unfortunately,none of the hatchlings could survive for more than a fortnight. Once,the babies were eaten up by the lone male crocodile; another time,they did not survive in the zoo hospital. The lack of expertise in handling the crocodiles also remained the reason behind vanishing of crocodiles here.

It was on June 7 that 15 crocodiles were born at Chhatbir and remained under their mother’s protection for few days after which they started going missing one by one. Zoo Field Director Churchil Kumar told Newsline that they are now hoping that the babies may have hibernated under the sand lumps there and a special team has been constituted to trace them. The team comprising Deputy Director,Senior Veterinary Doctor and a Veterinary Doctor will soon initiate its search and the sand heaps will be thoroughly screened.

The suspicion of the zoo authorities on the crocodiles getting hibernated seems strange from the fact that the crocodiles are supposed to hibernate only when subjected to very low temperatures in winter.

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First published on: 20-09-2010 at 05:33 IST
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