(Persia Digest) – The largest reptiles and only species of crocodiles in Iran live in its southeastern province of Sistan and Baluchestan. The locals call it “gando” and it is more commonly known as the mugger or march crocodile. It is a cautious, timid creature measuring four to five meters in length. There are fewer than 3000 of them left in the world. They are mostly found in Southeast Asia and are an endangered species.
The latest categorization of The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) placed the march crocodile on its yellow list as a Vulnerable (VU) category. Widespread droughts and ecocide are the main reasons for their vulnerability in Southeast Asia and Iran’s Sistan and Baluchestan Province.
The latest animal population census indicates that there are 398 march crocodiles living in southeastern Iran.
Their habitat in the wetlands measuring 456 thousand hectares became a protected area in Iran in 2015. Their main diet is fish, turtles, aquatic birds, and scavengers.
Nevertheless, a widespread drought in Sistan and Baluchestan which is now at its peak is the worst threat to this species.
Villagers in the protected area have always coexisted with the march crocodiles for years and shared water from the same river. But, with the drought in recent years, the crocodiles are no longer willing to carry on with this peaceful coexistence and are fighting for their survival. Currently, this area is witnessing a fight between man and beast for the survival of the fittest.
In July 2016, a ten-year old boy who had gone to fetch water from the river was caught by a crocodile and lost his life. Locals bear witness that this was an extremely rare incident, indicating that these reptiles are now fighting hard for their habitat in this long-drawn dry spell.
Click here for more social news.