Chennai

Crocodile bank addition

The male Tomistoma at the Crocodile Bank will soon get a companion. Photo: N.Sridharan

The male Tomistoma at the Crocodile Bank will soon get a companion. Photo: N.Sridharan  

A female Tomistoma, a crocodile species found in South East Asia, will be soon added to the exhibits at the Crocodile Bank on East Coast Road here. Patrick Aust, Director of the Bank, said that the Bank has a male Tomistoma for over 20 years. The male was alone and as per the Central Zoo Authority of India (CZAI) policy, no animal could be kept alone or without a companion.

In order to get a companion, the CZAI has facilitated the acquisition of a female Tomistoma from the Ahmedabad zoo. It will be airlifted and brought to Chennai on April 16. Public will be allowed to view it from April 17, he said.

Found in Indonesia, Sumatra and Java, this species of crocodile has been classified under endangered category as their population in the wild is estimated to be around 2,500 only, Dr. Aust said. The Tomistomas are closely related to the Ghariyals of India.

A well grown adult weigh up to 500 kg and is up to six metres long. However, there is not much study or research on this species, except the basic information, he said. This crocodile species mainly preys on fishes besides small antelopes, monkeys and deer. Tomistoma is a fresh-water crocodile, which is threatened due to habitat loss, poaching and getting trapped into fishing nets.

World over 25 species of crocodiles are found of which 14 are in the Bank. This included Mugger, Salt water crocodiles, Ghariyals, Yacare caiman, Dwarf caiman, Spectacled caiman, American Alligator, West African dwarf crocodile, Tomistoma, African Slender snouted Crocodile, Australian fresh water crocodile, Siamese crocodile, Nile crocodile and Morelets, he added.

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Printable version | Mar 30, 2020 3:14:35 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/Crocodile-bank-addition/article16327305.ece

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