In a rather bizarre incident, two men in Bengaluru were arrested for trapping a crocodile hatchling from Cauvery river and trying to sell it. The accused have been identified as Abdul Khaleed and Gangadhar BS, both residents of Bannerghatta Road. Police found the hatchling inside a cylindrical container which was partially filled with water after the residence of the duo was raided following a tipoff. Police caught the accused after receiving a tipoff on Wednesday night.
The accused have been booked under sections of Wildlife Protection Act and other legal provisions by the Chennammanakere Achukattu Police Station in south Bengaluru. They were produced in court and sent to judicial custody on Thursday, December 9. The animal has been sent to Bannerghatta Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation and will be released into conducive habitat after veterinarians assess the condition of the animal.
Crocodiles are among the Schedule 1 among the protected animals under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, the act will attract imprisonment of three to seven years.
One wildlife activist who was part of this rescue operation said, ‚ÄúThe accused had gone to Shivasamudra in Kanakapura to catch this baby crocodile. He was then trying to sell it as an exotic pet,‚ÄĚ he said.
Wildlife crimes have been on the rise in Bengaluru and surrounding parts of Karnataka since the start of the pandemic but incidents involving crocodiles are rare.
The Bengaluru police in November had found more than 500 star tortoises, another protected species, which were abandoned in busy interstate bus stations of the city.
A man in 2016 was arrested by Bengalruu police when he tried to sell a crocodile hatchling. That time the accused, a man from Andhra, had said that the crocodile was caught in his hometown and he was looking to sell it to restaurants in MG Road for a good price.