Chosen as 'Picture of the Week'
Fishing nets pose a big problem for river species such as crocodiles, dolphins, turtles and otters. Sadly, once an animal is entangled, rescuing or disentangling it is nearly impossible.
Tamilnadu Forest Department in association with Kenneth Anderson Nature Society (KANS) had organised the ‘Melagiri Bird Survey’ – from 29th of January 2014 to 2nd of February 2014 – in the Hosur Division. I was lucky to have taken part in the survey and was assigned to Urigam Range. The anti-poaching camp (APC) I was assigned to is on the banks of the Cauvery river. Due to the location of the camp, our transit was along the banks.
We saw many Marsh Crocodiles all throughout. At one point we saw this particular one – a marsh crocodile with a fishing net stuck to its mouth/teeth. This is just one case that we spotted; we do not know how many more animals suffer from fishing activities.
Human activity inside the forest in not limited to fishing alone; like most other forests, there is a temple inside the forest and people come in trucks and other private vehicles and some of them stop at the banks. They cook food, swim, and dump their trash. At one point ,we saw a group of 4 people swimming and about 50meters downstream, there were 6 crocodiles basking on a rock.
On the Karnataka side the forest along the river has been declared as a Sanctuary . Fishing is a punishable offence and human activity has been restricted. However, on the Tamil Nadu side , according to Sanjeev Kumar from KANS, fishing licenses are being given by the Fisheries department despite strong objections by the Forest Department
Having seen this pathetic sight of a magnificent crocodile with its mouth trapped in a fishing net , I believe serious steps have to be taken to preserve the remaining forest and wildlife in this region notable for its rich bio-diversity.