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November 28, 2009

Wildlife Park in Chhattisgarh segregates aggressive crocodiles

     Kotmi Sonar (Chhattisgarh): A large natural tank has been turned into a crocodile park near Champa village in Janjgir district to save the villagers from being attacked by these amphibian creatures as well as protect them from being endangered species. The crocodile park in the Kotmi Sonar range houses nearly 150 crocodiles picked up from various village ponds in the vicinity. The park with a steel fencing was developed with a sole motive, to stop the crocodile menace in the village. The crocodiles attacked the villagers whenever they came near the ponds, once they found that their natural prey had reduced. A couple of villagers lost their lives and several others got injured. To stop this threat, the village Panchayats through the assistance of State's Conservator of Forests decided to house all the crocodiles in a separate vast lake. "We had almost sixty to seventy crocodiles here in the pond near our village and they used to feed on fish from the pond. But gradually with the development, increase in the needs of people, the fish almost vanished from the ponds. So these hungry crocodiles started attacking the villagers. Around four people have lost their lives till now. One person lost his leg, one lost his hand and many were injured. Keeping all this in mind, villagers decided to keep all these crocodiles at one place so that even the crocodiles are safe and the villagers also feel safe," said Pradip Soni, Pradhan of Champa Panchayat. According to the Conservator of Forests, Kotmi Sonar Range , the crocodiles now live under natural surroundings at an exclusive large pond and they hunt for their food within the vicinity of their new 'home' that was set up in 2008. This lake has now become a novel crocodile park and tourists visit the place to watch the alligators. "All the crocodiles in Kotmi Sonar, which have been brought from the nearby ponds in the village, are living in a natural environment. They reproduce and lay eggs there only. Every thing they do here is in a natural environment and nothing is artificial," said Debashish Bannerjee, District Forest Officer, Janjgir- Champa.
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