Celebrating World Crocodile Day: A Commitment to Conservation

World Crocodile Day
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As the world observes World Crocodile Day on June 17, Wildlife SOS reaffirms its dedication to protecting and conserving crocodiles. These vital apex predators play a crucial role in maintaining biodiversity and ecological balance. Despite their fearsome reputation, crocodiles are essential to the health of our aquatic ecosystems.

The Importance of Crocodiles in Ecosystems

Crocodiles, with 24 species found worldwide, are integral to maintaining the health of aquatic ecosystems. In India, three species are prevalent: the gharial (Gavialis gangeticus), the mugger crocodile (Crocodylus palustris), and the saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus). Often seen basking on riverbanks, these animals face significant threats from climate change, habitat degradation, development activities, and illegal poaching. As human encroachment into natural habitats increases, crocodiles frequently fall victim to conflicts and negative perceptions.

Wildlife SOS: Rescuing and Protecting Crocodiles

Wildlife SOS works tirelessly to rescue and protect crocodiles from distress situations. The organization’s Rapid Response Unit, operating around the clock in four states, has rescued 22 mugger crocodiles in the past year alone, with five rescues in Agra and 17 in Vadodara since January 2023. Each rescue involves thorough medical examinations, necessary treatments, and releasing the crocodiles back into their natural habitats.

Baiju Raj MV, Director of Conservation Projects at Wildlife SOS, emphasizes the importance of collaboration with the forest department and raising awareness among villagers to reduce human-crocodile conflicts. “We advise avoiding riverbanks during nesting season and have designated areas with steel mesh for activities like washing clothes and handling livestock,” he stated.

Raising Awareness and Mitigating Conflicts

Geeta Seshamani, Co-founder and Secretary of Wildlife SOS, underscores the need for public awareness about the importance of coexistence to foster positive interactions between humans and crocodiles. Wildlife SOS operates emergency rescue helplines in Agra (+91 9917109666) and Vadodara (+91 9825011117), dedicated to crocodile conservation and mitigating human-crocodile conflicts.

Kartick Satyanarayan, Co-founder and CEO of Wildlife SOS, highlights the legal protections for crocodiles in India, noting their inclusion in Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972. He stresses the importance of advancing crocodile conservation efforts to protect these threatened species from further harm.

On this World Crocodile Day, Wildlife SOS reaffirms its commitment to crocodile conservation, emphasizing the need for public awareness, habitat protection, and conflict mitigation. By working together, we can ensure the survival of these magnificent reptiles and the health of our aquatic ecosystems.

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