Forest officials rescued a six-feet-long crocodile stranded in a dry nullah in a residential area of Mulund late on Thursday night. The eight-year-old reptile was kept captive in a small pond in Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) before being released in the Tulsi lake in Powai on Friday.
"We have inserted a microchip under its tail to track its movement," said Dr Vinaya Jangle, veterinarian officer, SGNP. The crocodile, weighing 60 kg, appeared under-nourished.
Both forest officials and locals are perplexed about how the reptile, of the Indian marsh crocodile species known as Crocodylus Palustri, found its way to the nullah.
“The incident is puzzling because marsh crocodiles do not travel long distances. We have asked the Thane forest division to find out the path the crocodile took to reach the spot,” said Sunil Limaye, director, SGNP.
Before forest officials arrived at the scene on Thursday night, quick thinking by a 35-year-old local, Umesh Salvi, helped in restricting the reptile’s movement. Salvi said that he had seen a television show in which wildlife experts used ropes to capture a crocodile.
“With the help of neighbours, I made a lasso out of a nylon rope. After seven attempts, I managed to tie the lasso around its jaws and tied the other end to an iron pole,” said Salvi, a carpenter.
He added that the crocodile came from a cave-like opening adjacent to the nullah. According to forest officers, the opening might be connected to another sewer, which was not dry.