It was an evening like any other for residents of Ganeshpada in Mulund Colony, till an unusual guest added much excitement to the fading day by showing up unannounced in their drainage system. A six-foot crocodile it was, in one of the nullahs in their backyard, and a team from the Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) had to be called in to rescue the reptile.
The wild discovery in a residential area in Mulund (West) on Thursday resulted in a large crowd gathering at the spot. Amid all the panic and confusion, some of the locals finally managed to trap the creature in the nullah and proceeded to call the SGNP officials. “My wife Rashmi went to throw garbage in the nullah around 8 pm on Thursday and suddenly saw something moving in the nullah. She could not recognise what it was so she called my brother, who was surprised to see a crocodile,” said Rajesh Patil, a rickshaw driver from Ganeshpada.
Soon after the discovery, more than 200 people gathered at the spot. Somebody threw a rope in the direction of the crocodile and managed to lasso it. Then began the wait for the SGNP team to turn up. “The forest officials reached the spot around midnight, after four hours. By that time, so many people had poured in to see the animal that we were afraid that the six-feet crocodile might come out of the nullah,” said Ravindra Salvi, another resident.
Vinaya Jangle, veterinary doctor, SGNP, said the crocodile was released in the national park after the rescue. “We reached the spot and rescued the animal. We released it in SGNP on Friday,” said Jangle. “It’s a six feet animal we are trying to understand how it reached the residential area .We have asked the BMC to provide us the map of the nullah.” The residents think the crocodile must have been brought by somebody when it was small with the intention of selling it but was abandoned in the nullah when it grew too big to be sold.
“The Tulsi lake is around an hour’s walk from the residential area and its impossible that the crocodile could have crawled from there to the residential area where it was found. There is no water flow also for it to come this way,” said Salvi. Animal lover Pawan Sharma disputed Salvi’s contention, saying water from the SGNP did flow into the drainage system in the area. “The residential area is just near a mountain. The water from the SGNP mountains flows into our drainage systems and the crocodile might have come the same way, surfacing in the residential area,” said Sharma.