The transfer of 1,000 Indian crocodiles raises a difficult question | News Bharat

Crocodile transfer

A thousand crocodiles will be moved from Tamil Nadu to Gujarat

A crocodile breeding center in India is in the process of moving 1,000 crocodiles to a zoo located about 1,931 km (1,200 miles) away – and owned by billionaire Mukesh Ambani.

Last year, India’s zoo watchdog approved the transfer of predatory crocodiles from the Madras Crocodile Bank Trust in the southern state of Tamil Nadu to the Greens Zoological Rescue and Rehabilitation Center in the western state of Gujarat. About 300 crocodiles have been relocated to Gujarat so far.

Officials at the 8.5-hectare breeding center said the crocodiles were moved because overcrowding in their original home led to fights.

“Hundreds of crocodile eggs are destroyed in the bank every year due to overcrowding,” says Nikhil Whitaker, curator of the center in Chennai. “The decision to relocate the crocodiles was made to provide them with a better place to live,” he adds.

Over the years, the bank has sent its crocodiles to protected areas and zoos across India. But this is the first time that such a large number of crocodiles are being moved.

The three-year-old zoo in Jamnagar, Gujarat, said in its latest annual report that the crocodiles “will be given adequate space, food and care”.

The breeding center was established in 1976 to preserve mainly three indigenous species of crocodiles – robbers, sea crocodiles and gharials.

Initially, he had around 40 crocodiles, and the aim was to protect them so that they could reproduce and their population could be released into the wild to restore their natural habitats.

Crocodile transfer

Crocodile Bank is a popular tourist attraction in Chennai

A federal order in 1994 banned the release of captive-bred crocodiles into the wild, Whitaker said. Since then, the bank has had to make do with occasionally moving some crocodiles to zoos and wildlife sanctuaries.

With wildlife areas shrinking and zoos only able to accommodate a limited number of crocodiles, they are running out of places to send excess crocodiles, officials said.

Officials at the breeding center said the crocodiles will travel to Jamnagar in wooden crates in a temperature-controlled vehicle.

“As captive crocodiles only need to be fed once a week, we will feed them before the trip,” Mr Whitaker said.

Conservationists questioned relocation as a solution to overcrowding at the breeding center. Wildlife biologist P. Kannan said that the reptiles will be confined to their new home, so the problem will still be there.

“There is no sterilization method [for crocodiles] are still available and male and female crocodiles cannot be kept in separate enclosures for long periods as this leads to fights,” said Mr. Kannan.

Crocodile transfer

The bank was established in 1976 to conserve native crocodile species

The BBC has reached out to the Gujarat Zoo for more details on the measures being taken to control their crocodile population, but has yet to hear back.

S. Jayachandran, honorary secretary of the Nilgiri Wildlife and Environment Association, said that instead of relocating animals, India should increase its protected wildlife areas.

“If there was enough space for crocodiles in nature, there would be no need to move them to the zoo.”

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