Chosen as 'Picture of the Week'
The dangers of fishing close to sanctuaries cannot be overstated. The forest department maintains that fishing inside the Ranganthittu Sanctuary is illegal. While they may be right, river currents are strong and sometimes carry nets and other dangerous objects downstream. Muggers and other creatures know no boundaries, and navigate in and out of protected areas through water bodies. Thus fishing, even if it is outside of protected areas, can still pose a threat to wildlife.
My friends and I visited the Ranganthittu Sanctuary, near Mysore, Karnataka, on the afternoon on July 6th. We noticed this mugger, lying on a rock in the river when we were taken for a boat ride in the sanctuary. It had a nylon fishing net and twigs stuck into its mouth, and seemed to be feeling uncomfortable. It was struggling to get rid of the net and twigs. When we tried to approach it to have a closer look, the crocodile vanished into the waters.
When we brought the matter to the notice of the forest staff, they did not seem to be bothered. This picture raises doubts as to whether there is illegal fishing in the sanctuary, threatening the lives of its inhabitants.
Editor’s note: This incident was reported in a News Article in the Deccan Herald. The forest department’s response and other details can be found there.