People residing around the Bhandup Water Complex Road near the water filtration plant adjacent to SGNP in Bhandup got the shock of their life on Tuesday night after they spotted an unusual visitor roaming their streets.
No, it wasn't a leopard this time around, but an 11-feet long 'lost' marsh crocodile that was unable to find its way back to it's water source.
The Forest Department and volunteers catch the crocodile. Pic/Rajesh Gupta
The crocodile was eventually rescued by forest department after a 5-hour long operation.
According to forest department officials, “We got a call a distress call at around 2.15 am informing us that there was a huge crocodile that was spotted on the road after which our rescue team immediately rushed to the spot along with volunteers from NGO RAWW. We reached by 2.45 am after which the rescue operation started."
When the team reached the spot they were surprised to see a huge crocodile. The main objective of the team was to rescue the amphibian without hurting it.
As per sources, there was a possibility of the crocodile going towards a tribal hamlet that was just few meters away. The rescue operation that started at around 3 am along with the help of RAWW members and the rescue team of Thane Forest Department went on for close to five hours after which the crocodile was captured.
The crocodile being transported to a safe location. Pic/Rajesh Gupta
Pawan Sharma from NGO RAWW said, “We reached the spot and the first thing that we did was locate the reptile. One team kept an eye on it, the other team tried to find if there was any water outlet or connection with a lake around. Unfortunately there were no exits, and the reptile was heading towards an adivasi pada.”
The FD team along with the NGO volunteers made a rope trap and secured the reptile. But the reptile's size meant the first three atempts to catch it didn't succeed.
“We made three attempts to overpower the reptile which were unsuccessful, after which we called some more team members and in the fourth attempt we successfully rescued the reptile without causing it any injury.” added Sharma.
The lost crocodile seen in the night at Bhandup. Pic/Rajesh Gupta
The reptile was then safely taken to the Mumbai Range office of Thane Forest Department where the veterinarians examined it and it was identified as a11-feet long female crocodile. The veterinarians from the Thane SPCA who examined the reptile deemed it fit after which it was safely released back into its natural habitat in the afternoon.