As the crocodile-infested Vishwamitri river swelled and its waters overflowed into the city areas, crocodiles began surfacing in residential localities. The Forest department of Vadodara has so far rescued three crocodiles which swam to residential areas by the Vishwamitri river waters.
Assistant Conservator of Forests, Vinod Damor said, “So far we have rescued three crocodiles, one of them from a society on Rajmahal road and two from societies in Nizampura area of the city. The crocodile rescued from Rajmahal road was four feet long and almost six years of age while the others were baby crocodiles and nearly two years of age. They have been moved to our rescue centre for now.” Vadodara floods Live Updates
Damor further added that the instances of spotting crocodiles will increase once the water starts receding. “The water is not still and is flowing. The crocodiles have swum with the water from the Vishwamitri river. But there will be more spotting once the water starts receding and the water level lowers down. The actual challenge is then. We have circulated our helpline numbers but there have been no more calls so far. We had also rescued a big tortoise from Fatehgunj area of the city,” Damor added.
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The forest department has circulated contact details of concerned officials and volunteers for each area to be approached in case of any emergency related to wildlife.
In a video that went viral of a crocodile rescued from Rajmahal road, the reptile is seen targetting two dogs which were stranded in the floodwaters, even as it attacked one of them, as residents of the society who appeared to be fixing the power connection from the pole, looked on. Vishwamitri river is home to nearly 300 crocodiles as per the last census. Sighting a crocodile in residential areas close to the river is quite common, however, with the river water entering the city, the number of such sightings is likely to increase.
Meanwhile, rescue operations were also carried out at the Kamatibaug zoo to relocate the animals to safer heights and enclosures. Beginning on Wednesday night, animals from low lying areas were first moved to safer cages and mounds were created in enclosures of herbivorous animals to give them a safe alleviation. “We had started the rescue operations on Wednesday night itself but the water has substantially increased since Thursday morning. We have used big stones and boulders to create mounds in the enclosures of the herbivorous animals so that they can get an alleviation. We have also moved our birds and tortoises to make-shift cages. The carnivores are already on an alleviated enclosure so that will not be an issue. There is neck-deep water close to the birds’ enclosures and hence they had to be rescued first,” said Dr Pratyush Patankar, curator of the zoo.
Presently, the Sayaji Baug Zoo is divided into three sections: Bird Section, Bear Section (Rinchh Khana) and Tiger section (Wagh Khana), with 212 animals of 18 species, 583 birds of 64 species and 79 reptiles of 7 species. These include 4 species from the Cat family, 5 species of Primates and 9 species of Ungulates. The total number of animals is 874 of 89 species.
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