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Inviato da Wes von Papinešu on Ottobre 05, 2000 at 16:17:44:
INDIAN EXPRESS (Bombay, India) 26 September 00 Crocodile came with floods, stayed on to become unwanted neighbours
Vadodara: Inmates of a cluster of hovels in a low-lying water-logged locality in Akota have been living on the edge for more than a month.
Every now and then crocodiles pop out of the slushy water and sometimes crawl up to their doorsteps. The waterbody is a mixture of sewage released from nearby residential societies and rainwater.
The crocodiles might be coming from the Vishwamitri river which was in spate in 1995. "Our huts were completely under water during the floods. Water receded after few hours but evidently left the crocodiles behind," said Sadiqbhai Patel, a resident of the area.
Mehmudabibi Patel, another resident, said occasionally the reptiles rest near their doorstep and thanks her stars for the fact that "nothing untowards has happened so far."
Interestingly, the residents did not believe for a long time that their lives were in danger and took stories of crocodile sighting with a pinch of salt. "We refused to believe they could be so close to us and mocked at those who claimed to have seen crocodiles," said Sadiqbhai.
However, over the last one month many more residents reported to have seen the reptiles. They believe there are at least three crocodiles, one of which was caught in the early hours of Friday. There are still two more, one of them a seven-feet long fearsome reptile, they claim.
The residents have got used to the sight of the reptiles resting in the thick vegetation and bushes all over the waterbody. Teenagers even throw stones at the reptiles whenever they raise their head and some go perilously close to have a better view. The bold ones even hit the animal with sticks.
Alimabibi Rasulbhai Shaikh, who irons clothes till late in the night, says she has seen the crocodiles so many times that she has lost count. Only, the regular sight has helped her to overcome her fear.
Since the residents themselves were not sure, none of the local leaders they spoke to took them seriously. Since last fortnight the residents started remaining awake till late in the night to kill the reptiles and finish the anxiety forever.
Sadiqbhai who spotted a three-feet-long crocodile in the wee hours of Friday alerted the Gujarat Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (GSPCA) around 2 am.
The reptile crawled out of water and disappeared on the hillock but later found itself trapped in a cement pipe. The residents blocked both ends by putting bicycles on either side of the pipe.
"If the GSPCA volunteers had arrived a bit late we would have killed the reptile," said Sadiqbhai, aware of the consequences.
The crocodile is in the custody of GSPCA. A volunteer said the society had informed DFO (wildlife) Sanjay Mehta but no one had turned up to take custody of the reptile.