Believed to have gone extinct, three mugger crocodiles have been recovered in Bangladesh’s waters, and efforts are being deployed to breed them in captivity and then release them into nature, preferably in a safe zone.
“Although the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources declared the mugger crocodile regionally extinct in Bangladesh in 2000, the recent recoveries of the muggers have raised the question if the species still remain in the wild in the country,” explains Mofizur Rahman Chowdhury, a fisheries expert at the Bangladesh Forest Department. “Now, the time has come to research it.”
In 11 short days, three specimens of the mugger crocodile – also known as Crocodylus palustris or marsh crocodile – have been recovered. The first was in the Bhubaneswar River, located in the country’s south-central Faridpur district; the second was in a wetland in the Padna district; and the third one – a female – was found in the Narail district. All three reptiles were then brought to the Karamjol Crocodile Breeding Center in Khulna, where they will breed to increase their population. The plan is to release them back into nature. Subject to unchecked poaching for its prize skin, the mugger crocodiles would benefit from a safe zone, preferably in the upper Padma River, one of Bangladesh’s major rivers like Jamuna and Meghna.