On Sunday, a 30-year-old farmer Babubhai Parma from Vadodara city of Gujarat had retired to bed after the routine exercise of tying his cattle to the tethers. But at 1.30 am, Paramar was woken up by the sound of dogs barking in his neighbourhood. The luck was on his side as he sported an eight-feet-long female pregnant crocodile under his cot. Parmar somehow managed to escape and raise an alarm that brought the neighbours to his house.
The giant crocodile reportedly sneaked into Parmar's house from the nearby Malataj lake in Anand district of Vadodara. The lake is just 500 metres away from Parmar's house. The locals took the help of forest department officials for safely rescuing the pregnant crocodile who apparently had come out of the lake to lay her eggs.
"It was an eight-feet crocodile that was pregnant. On any given day, I would have rescued the crocodile myself, but since she was pregnant, we didn't want to take chances," Malataj's Sarpanch Durgesh Patel told The Times of India. The Forest Department officials and the volunteers of an NGO, Daya Foundation, Karamsad jointly rescued the crocodile.
Crocodiles and humans live in harmony in Vadodara's Anand district
The presence of crocodiles in and around the lakes of several Vadodara districts such as Anand and Kheda is no big deal for the residents. The locals say they are used to living at peace with the giant reptiles and would often rescue them. As per official figures, there are nearly 159 crocodiles living in various lakes of the twin districts. Their count has reportedly gone up in the past several years owing to zero human interference in the ecology of the lakes.
Nitesh Chauhan from Daya Foundation said that they always keep a cage handy to assist in the rescue operations of the crocodiles.
"The wetlands of Malataj, Deva and Petli villages have a healthy population of crocodiles. They come out of the lakes in the nesting season to safely lay their eggs and are often searching for such places. When we come across pregnant crocodiles, we take extra precautions to rescue them," Chauhan added.
A unique citizen initiative is also held to ascertain the count of crocodiles in the lakes of these three villages. The last survey was done in January which revealed the presence of 68, 16 and 14 crocodiles in Deva, Malataj and Petli villages, respectively.