150 juvenile crocodiles were released into the Krishna in 1981, says Conservator of Forests

It came as a surprise for the Forest Department when Vijayawada Central MLA Malladi Vishnu announced at the River Crossing event that he will make efforts to fish out the juvenile crocodile that was released into the Krishna river last month, after it was rescued by a lorry driver in Nalgonda District.

The river is the natural habitat of the crocodiles and there are several in the waters all along the river and cannot be fished out to be put in a zoo as suggested by the MLA, the officials pointed out. Fishing out this particular juvenile crocodile was an impossible task at that.

The Krishna District Territorial Division Forest Officer along with his forest rangers had taken care of the young crocodile and painfully taken it into the river and released it in its natural habitat, according to their call of duty based on the Constitution of India. The MLA took objection to the Forest Department not taking permission from their higher-ups, but the forester here had followed the laid-down procedure and was shocked by the MLA’s statement.

The former Assistant Conservator of Forests (Eluru Range) P. Gracious, who worked in the department, had taken training in Crocodile Breeding and Sanctuary Management and finds the act of his department officials natural and as per the Constitution. Referring to the Indian Constitution on which the MLA has taken oath, has its directive principles according to which every citizen has a fundamental duty to protect wildlife.

Remembering his training programme in 1981, he said that 150 juvenile crocodiles were released into the Krishna River and he was also part of the team that was following recommendations of Dr. Bustard the international expert on crocodiles. The Government of India had asked Dr. H. R. Bustard to make a survey of the status of Indian crocodiles in 1981 to prepare a conservation plan. Incidentally, Dr. Bustard can tell all about a crocodile from its pugmarks.