World Crocodile Day: A Commitment to Protect and Conserve These Majestic Reptiles

On June 17, the conservation community marks World Crocodile Day, a moment when Wildlife SOS reaffirms its dedication to safeguarding crocodiles. These remarkable apex predators are vital for maintaining biodiversity and ecological balance, despite their fearsome image. Crocodiles are indispensable to the health of aquatic ecosystems

There are 24 species of crocodiles worldwide, with India hosting three: the gharial (Gavialis gangeticus), the mugger crocodile (Crocodylus palustris), and the saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus). These reptiles, often spotted basking along riverbanks, face serious threats from climate change, habitat loss, urban development, and illegal poaching. Increasing human encroachment into natural habitats frequently leads to conflicts and a negative perception of crocodiles.

Wildlife SOS is unwavering in its mission to rescue and protect crocodiles in peril. The organization’s Rapid Response Unit, which operates around the clock in four states, rescued 22 mugger crocodiles last year, including five in Agra and 17 in Vadodara since January 2023. Each rescue involves comprehensive medical examinations, necessary treatments, and the eventual return of the crocodiles to their natural environments.

Baiju Raj MV, Director of Conservation Projects at Wildlife SOS, remarked, “Wildlife SOS partners with the forest department to rescue crocodiles and educate villagers to reduce human-crocodile conflicts. We recommend avoiding riverbanks during the nesting season and have established designated areas with steel mesh for activities like washing clothes and managing livestock.”

Geeta Seshamani, Co-founder and Secretary of Wildlife SOS, mentioned, “Raising public awareness about the importance of co-existence is essential for fostering positive interactions between humans and crocodiles. Wildlife SOS runs emergency rescue helplines in Agra (+91 9917109666) and Vadodara (+91 9825011117) to support crocodile conservation and mitigate human-crocodile conflicts.”

Kartick Satyanarayan, Co-founder and CEO of Wildlife SOS, added, “Crocodiles are listed in Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972 and are a threatened species in India. On this World Crocodile Day, it is imperative to bolster crocodile conservation efforts to protect these species from further decline.”

Shruti Suman

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