Save the crocodiles

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Even as the country celebrated its 70th year as a free republic, an endangered species in Gujarat had its freedom taken away when the forest department in the state swooped on them to start a mass capture programme.

The Gujarat government has ordered for more than 500 crocodiles to be removed, as they are coming in the way of seaplanes landing near the multi-crore Statue of Unity that was recently constructed at the Sardar Sarovar Dam.A newspaper report stated that the “Gujarat Forest Department has started evacuating crocodiles from two ponds on the Sardar Sarovar Dam premises on the Narmada, to make way for the seaplane service planned to promote tourism at the site. Using fish as bait to lure them into cages, the Forest Department has started removing the crocodiles, the largest of them so far about 10 feet. There is no deadline as of now for finishing the operation”. With more than 500 crocodiles estimated to be in the area, it is unclear how so many animals will be moved out and where they will be taken.

Translocating the Crocs Won’t Solve the Problem
Romulus Whitaker, a well-known crocodile expert who is also a member of the IUCN crocodile specialist group and set up the famous Madras Crocodile Bank Trust, fears that this effort could in fact lead to further conflict, if not conducted in a scientific manner under the supervision of experts. He condemned the move stating “It's a disgrace to relocate crocodiles from their home in the homeland of the goddess Khodiyar. This will not solve the problem; many crocodiles will die and translocating them will simply cause problems elsewhere. I'm sure the Central Government has not given the necessary permission to Schedule I species under the Wildlife Protection Act.”