An eight-foot-long mugger crocodile writhing in excruciating pain was saved by a team of the Wildlife SOS, which extricated a fish hook from its upper jaw.
The crocodile was rescued from a village pond in Firozabad after a fish hook got embedded in its mouth. A team of the Wildlife SOS and the UP Forest department rushed to help the distressed reptile which after treatment was released into the Chambal river.
The team discovered that the crocodile was caught in a dangerous situation. As it turned out, the eight-foot-long crocodile which was inhabiting a pond in Eka village, Firozabad got a fish hook lodged deep in its mouth and was in need of immediate medical intervention. They initially decided to set up a trap cage but as the water level in the pond was quite shallow, the team decided to use safety nets to extricate the crocodile.
The crocodile was rushed to the Wildlife SOS animal hospital in Agra, for treatment and care. A thorough medical assessment followed by an X-ray examination revealed that the fish hook was approximately 3 cm long and it was embedded in the crocodile’s upper jaw. After a few days in observation, the crocodile was deemed fit to be released in Chambal River.
Dr Ilayaraja, Deputy Director – Veterinary Services, Wildlife SOS, said, “The hook was lodged in the upper jaw. The animal was in pain and could have even starved to death. We had to surgically remove the hook followed by post-operative care and laser therapy.”
Kartick Satyanarayan, CEO and co-founder of Wildlife SOS said, “The rescue was challenging as it was night time and we had to use safety nets instead of a trap cage to rescue the large crocodile. We are very grateful to the UP Forest department for helping us coordinate such a seamless rescue.”
Tulsiram Dohare, Regional Forest Officer, Jasrana, said, “We are thankful to the Wildlife SOS team for their expert assistance in conducting such sensitive rescue and release missions.”
The Mugger crocodile, (Crocodylus Palustris) also called the Marsh crocodile is native to the Indian subcontinent, Sri Lanka, Burma, Pakistan and some parts of Iran. It is most commonly found in freshwater environments such as rivers, lakes, hill streams, village ponds, and human-made reservoirs. This species is listed as ‘vulnerable’ on the IUCN Red List and is protected under schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act 1972.
At one point, Mugger crocodiles used to be widespread throughout the subcontinent but over time, their population has dwindled due to habitat destruction, hunting, loss of prey base, human encroachment, and increasing conflict situations.