After floods now, it is stray crocodiles that are triggering panic among the villagers of Cauvery delta districts in Tamil Nadu. With heavy discharge of Cauvery water making crocodile sightings common along the Kollidam river and its adjoining rivulets, villagers demand that these crocodiles be rescued and rehabilitated, but forest department officials want the water levels to recede in the Cauvery and Kollidam first.At times of drought when Cauvery and Coleroon dry up, foresters in Chidambaram and Cuddalore can rescue crocodiles easily, but now the excess water poses difficulty, say forest officials. “In the past one week, our guards and trained villagers are finding it difficult to trap crocodiles due to heavy inflow of water,” said Chidambaram forest range officer N Chidambaram. He also said the spurt in sightings of crocodiles along Kollidam and Chidambaram range are being attended to and the reptiles, after being captured, will be released into Vakkramari lake in Cuddalore.Some of the crocodiles bask under the scorching sun and a handful of them stray into nearby slush for summer dormancy, but there is no need to rescue these reptiles during floods, wildlife biologist A Kumaraguru of Biodiversity Conservation Foundation, Trichy, said. The crocodile population at Kollidam and Kallanai have established their territory and they should not be disturbed. In the past three years, there have been at least five deaths due to crocodile attacks, but the situations is not alarming, Kumaraguru added. “Annually about 15 to 20 crocodiles stray into residential areas of the delta region but we move out only the adults into crocodile parks maintained by the forest department. There have been sightings of crocodiles but nothing alarming as of now,” said a senior forest official at the state forest headquarters. The official also dismissed rumours that crocodiles from Hogenekkkal and Amaravathi crocodile parks have been washed out in the flash floods. All the captive crocodiles reared in forest department parks are there only and there is no need to panic, the official said.