A 4.4 ft male Marsh crocodile, weighing around 8.8 kg, was rescued by a team of activists hailing from an NGO, RAWW in Mumbai. A distress call was reported to RAWW helpline from a residential society in Mulund area in Mumbai in connection with citing of a crocodile in a drain at a construction site next to the society.
While responding to the call, members of RAWW Rescue team were assigned to check the ground situation.
Soon after reaching the spot, the team located the crocodile in a drain and checked if there was any route directly connecting to its natural habitat which was not found.
The Mumbai Range of Thane Forest Department was alerted and preparations for initiating a rescue operation started.
The RAWW team did the survey of the area and checked all possible exit points for the reptile to escape which entered into human zones, which were soon evaluated and secured.
“The reptile was in a 5 feet pit connecting to a drain and there were possibilities of reptile ending up near the labour camp of the construction site or the work area which had potentials of leading into a Human Wildlife Conflict situation,” Pawan Sharma, honorary wildlife warden (Thane) and Founder & President, RAWW said.
A 15 member team of wildlife rescuers from RAWW and the Mumbai Range of Forest Department began the rescue operation which lasted for 7 hours after which the crocodile was safely captured, he added.
Around 6 PM in the evening, the water pumps and halogen lights were arranged to bring down the water level and good visiblity. At the same time a team was clearing the choked drain line due to which the water flow was slowed which led to the formation of a pit.
After two hours, the water level decreased to an extent when the teams started setting nets in the pit.
Around 8:45 PM, the crocodile was spotted which was hiding in a hollow space between the junctions of the drains in the pit.
Around 9:25 PM, all the nets were properly set in the pit and the teams waited for an hour to allow the crocodile to move in the water and enter in the nets.
Around 10:30 PM, the first effort was called off as the crocodile did not move into the nets and soon preparations for the next move started which was initiated 30 minutes later.
Failing two more attempts when the teams changed the positions of the nets the crocodile entered the nets and was then safely removed out of the pit around 1:00 AM.
It was then allowed to stabilize in the custody of the Forest Department overnight.
It was headed for a medical examination to our Honorary Wildlife Veterinarian Dr Rina Dev who identified it as a Male Marsh Crocodile, Weight 8.8 kgs, Age around 5 to 6 years approx.
It was declared fit by the doctor after which its scutes were clipped for identification in future followed by all necessary paper work the crocodile will be released back to its natural habitat which shall remain undisclosed for the protection of the reptile.
The team members from RAWW involved in the operation include Dhairya Gada , Pratik Bhanushali, Hasmukh Valanju, Naresh Bhanushali, Pareen Shah, Sagar Pandhi, Dhairya Punjani ,Ravi Suryavanshi,
Mitesh Raimangya, Purav Shah, Niraj Bhanushali, Harshit Savla, Saiyyam Dharamshi, Adwait Jadhav, Hiren Chudasama, Darshan Patel, Sanjay Makwana, Harsh jakharia, Chinmay Joshi, Vivek Shethia who assisted in conducting the rescue smoothly.
Sameer Inamdar, Ramesh Dhamale, Ravindra Tawar RFO Mumbai Santosh Kank, DCF Territorial, Jitendra Ramgavkar were monitoring the entire operation.