Agra, Oct 4 (IANS) A huge marsh crocodile was on Friday rescued from a bajra field in Firozabad district and released in Yamuna in an operation jointly carried out by the UP Forest department officials and an Agra based NGO, Wildlife SOS.The reptile had ventured into the bajra field, creating panick among the villagers in Nagla Jaiyya in Firozabad district. A day earlier, a massive gharial was rescued in Sirsaganj. Officials said the villagers saw the spotted eight-foot long marsh crocodile in the bajra field and informed the forest department. Both teams rushed to the location and after ensuring that all safety measures were taken, they set the rescue mission in motion. The team of eight rescuers took 30 minutes to carefully lure the large reptile into a trap cage. The crocodile was later released in the Yamuna River at the Narangi Ghat. The marsh crocodile (Crocodylus Palustris) 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 man-made reservoirs. They are opportunistic carnivore and can eat any animal smaller than itself, including other crocodiles.Kartick Satyanarayan, co-founder and Chief Executive Officer at Wildlife SOS, said, “As a crowd of curious onlookers had gathered around the field, we had to ensure that they maintained a safe distance to avoid causing the crocodile any further stress. Operations like this can be quite nerve-racking as the team has to exercise caution while approaching such a large and powerful reptile.” Baiju Raj M.V., Director, Conservation Projects, Wildlife SOS, said, “We wanted to avoid capturing the reptile by force and causing it any harm, so we set up a trap cage with bait. It is essential that we remain sensitive to the presence of wild animals and learn to co-exist.”–IANSbk/arm
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