Mugger Crocodile | UPSC

      HEADLINES:

Decapitated body of mugger crocodile found in Satkosia Gorge Sanctuary

      WHY IN NEWS:

Forest officers suspect the reptile was hacked by fishers when it got stuck their nets

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3: IUCN : Flora and Fauna

      ISSUE: 

MUGGER CROCODILE

  • The decapitated body of a three-feet-long Mugger crocodile (Crocodylus palustris) was found on July 4, 2021 on the banks of River Mahanadi near Binikei temple within Satkosia Gorge Sanctuary in Odisha‘s Angul district.

  • Satkosia Gorge Sanctuary is spread over 795.52 square kilometres across four districts: Angul, Budh, Cuttack and Nayagarh.
  • The water bodies of Satkosia are home to around 108 muggers, according to the 2021 census.  
  • The mugger is the least ferocious crocodile breed in the region.
  • They have never harmed any villager or domestic animal. In many places in the state, fishers are involved in conservation of the crocodiles.

COMMON NAMES

Mugger, marsh crocodile, swamp crocodile

RANGE

Iran, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh (extinct in wild), Bhutan (extinct), Myanmar (probably extinct).

Mugger Crocodile | UPSC

CONSERVATION STATUS

  • Mugger crocodiles are covered under Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. Since 1982.

  • It is a medium-sized broad-snouted crocodile native to the freshwater habitats. The species feeds on insects, fish, reptiles, birds and mammals. 

THREATS

  • Habitat destruction, fragmentation, and transformation, mortality due to increased fishing activities.
  • Also, sand-mining caused excessive, irreversible loss of riverine habitat this threatens the existence of the species.

Mugger Crocodile | UPSC

SOURCES : DOWNTOEARTH

REPRODUCTION

  • The mugger is a hole-nesting species, with egg-laying taking place during the annual dry season.
  • Females become sexually mature at approximately 1.8-2 m, and lay 25-30 eggs.
  • Nests are located in a wide variety of habitats, and females have even been known to nest at the opening of, or inside, their burrow.
  • In captivity, some Muggers are known to lay two clutches in a single year, but this has not been observed in the wild.

  • These burrows are presumably utilized as an effective refuge from hot daytime ambient temperatures.
  • These burrows play a critical role in the survival of crocodiles living in harsh environments, allowing them to avoid exposure to excessively low and high temperatures (<5ºC and >38ºC respectively) for long periods of time, which may be lethal.

CONSERVATION AND MANAGEMENT PLAN

  • Population monitoring.
  • Protection of habitats.
  • Post-release monitoring of restocked Muggers in India
  • Identification and minimisation of negative anthropogenic influences
  • Integration of local people into conservation programs.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

  • The central and state Governments need to maintain the integrity of river and lake (reservoir) ecosystems so that they continue to harbour aquatic fauna.
  • This includes controlling pollution by urban waste and industries, development of potentially disastrous water harnessing projects (such as the highly ambitious river inter-linking project in India).
     SOURCES:  DownToEarth  | Mugger Crocodile | UPSC

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