Crocodylus palustris – a crocodile species that is being removed from the Narmada

Why in News?

  • The Gujarat Forest Department has started evacuating muggers from two ponds on the Sardar Sarovar Dam premises on the Narmada, to facilitate a seaplane service at the Statue of Unity.

Narmada Crocodile:

  • The mugger crocodile, also called marsh crocodile or broad-snouted crocodile, is a species (Crocodylus palustris) native to freshwater habitats from southern Iran and Pakistan to the Indian subcontinent and Sri Lanka.
  • Already extinct in Bhutan and Myanmar, the mugger has been listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List since 1982.
  • In India, it is protected under Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
  • Vadodara, 90 km from the Narmada dam, is the only city in the country where crocodiles live in their natural habitat amidst human population.

Legal provisions for relocation of species:

  • Among the six schedules in the Act, Schedule I and part II of Schedule II provide the highest degrees of protection to listed species, with the most stringent penalties for offenders.
  • For animals listed in Schedule I, any of kind of population control activity, capture for captivity, or transportation can involve cumbersome processes.
  • This includes even transportation of crocodiles. So its relocation or capture is definitely illegal without permission.
  • Experts say crocodiles were listed under Schedule I not because of the fear of extinction but to prevent their trade.
  • However, state governments have the authority to give permissions in some situations where they become a danger for the human population.
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