Mumbai: Crocodile's uphill trek leaves forest officials baffled

Updated: Nov 13, 2019, 07:47 IST | Ranjeet Jadhav | Mumbai

Forest department wondering how baby reptile reached Royal Palms hill

The pond which the crocodile inhabits is next to an abandoned bungalow in Royal Palms. Pic/ Ranjeet Jadhav
The pond which the crocodile inhabits is next to an abandoned bungalow in Royal Palms. Pic/ Ranjeet Jadhav

The sighting of a baby crocodile at a partially constructed, abandoned bungalow inside Royal Palms in Aarey Milk Colony has surprised and perplexed the forest department. Even as they plan its rescue after having visited the spot, the mystery that forest officials are pondering is how the reptile ended up on a hill in the first place.

The crocodile's discovery was set in motion a few days ago when a snake rescuer from Aarey Colony was told by his friends that they spotted a baby crocodile in a pool formed during the monsoon next to the abandoned property.

Talking to mid-day, snake rescuer Yash said, "I immediately went to the spot and tried to locate the crocodile. Within three hours, I saw it resting on a stone inside the water."

Yash then contacted a team of volunteers who have been engaged in setting up cameras to monitor the activity of leopards in Aarey. The team in turn reached out to the Forest Department's territorial wing located in Thane.

On Tuesday, a team from the department visited the spot in Royal Palms and have been trying to figure how the baby crocodile reached the spot ever since. There are no natural water bodies near the spot for the crocodile to have travelled through.

Croc

Talking to mid-day, a Forest Department official said, "We have visited the spot and seen the baby crocodile. We are preparing a strategy to rescue it as the place its inhabiting is congested and as such the operation will not be an easy one. Proper planning will be done before we take any step."

The crocodile's lair is an approximately 100x50 feet plot adjacent to the under construction bungalow. mid-day also visited the spot to see the crocodile and well enough, it was basking on the small stone in the water. However, as soon as it heard people approaching, it slid into the water.

Its rescue will be challenging as the pond it inhabits is 10 to 15 feet deep and has its surface covered in shards of glass from liquor bottles. This rules out physically entering the water with a net and other materials to grab the reptile. The department is thus considering placing a small cage inside the water to capture it.

10-15feet
Depth of the crocodile's pond

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