Captured Giant Crocodile released

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Baripada, Aug 12 (UNI) A giant marsh crocodile (Crocodilus palustris), which migrated from the Khairi river through a nullah and sneaked into a village pond at Goili village under Matiagarh Gram Panchayat, has been safely captured and released back into its habitat by a team of five Simlipal Tiger Reserve (STR) officials.

Gudgudia Range officer Sitanath Pani said here today that the reptile was captured and released yesterday in a gorge near Patbil valley in river West Deo, about 85 kms from here.

Although the entry of the reptile into a village pond triggered panic among the villagers, they extended their full cooperation to the STR officials in capturing the reptile.

The nearly 18-year-old marsh crocodile was born at the Ramtirtha Crocodile Research Centre and released into river Khairi in the STR.

The marsh crocodile, once found plentifully in the STR, was pushed to the brink of extinction, the officials said.

However, the crocodiles were saved from becoming extinct, thanks to the nearly two-decade old rear and release programme launched at the Sarojraj Chaudhury Memorial Marsh Crocodile Research and Conservation Programme at Ramtirtha near Jashipur.

Now, the Simlipal's river system is teeming with the reptiles and they can be sighted basking in the winter sun on the river banks, forest officials said.

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