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Croc scare in Kollidam after discharge from Mettur dam
With the Mettur dam releasing surplus water draining into Kollidam river, the crocodiles from upstream Cauvery are now forced to roost on Kollidam river banks triggering tension in Chidambaram and Cuddalore areas. The residents have reiterated their earlier demand to establish a crocodile park in the banks of Kollidam.
According to local foresters in Chidambaram, the sighting of crocodiles has increased due to the surplus water flow from Karnataka. Monsoon and drought are two seasons, where the rescue of crocodiles is routine.
In the past year, more than a dozen crocodiles have been rescued from Kollidam river and released into the nearby Vakramari lake, sources said.
Similarly, the stray and rescue will be at the peak, during March- April season when the water dries up concentrating the crocodile population near Kollidam, sources said.
“We are not able to graze our cattle near Kollidam catchment as there are fatal encounters because of crocodiles. The local villagers in Chidambaram area do not bath or use the river banks due to the crocodile population,” said 50-year-old farmer M Rangasamy of Chidambaram.
“As part of the monsoon mitigation measure the forest department has already formed special squads to attend the stray reptiles,” said S Ramasubramanian, conservator of forests, Thanjavur.
In the past one and a half years, there is no human - crocodile encounter, as the crocodile preys on stray animals. The forest department also reaches out to the fire department and local villagers for rescuing the crocodiles, the conservator said. The public demand to have long term crocodile bank in the area is not sustainable as the river dries up during summer. Further, the crocodile population in TN is healthy and there is no need to conserve them under captive conditions, Ramasubramanian said.
“The crocodile population at Kollidam and Kallanai have established their territory and they should not be disturbed, but there is a need to study their distribution as stray crocodiles can endanger the public who use the river banks,” said conservation scientist A Kumaraguru, Biodiversity Conservation Foundation, Tiruchy.
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