Surat Water Cats: Breeding Initiative Spreads Nationwide After 2006 Floods

The demand for crocodiles in nature parks across the country, including Surat’s Nature Park, has been increasing. In 2006, the breeding of crocodiles began here, resulting in the successful breeding of a total of 43 crocodiles. Currently, there are 26 crocodiles in the Nature Park. Over the past 8 years, 17 crocodiles have been relocated to other zoos, and in their place, 63 animal and bird species, including white tigers, lions, and rhinoceros, have been introduced. Four zoos are currently waiting to acquire crocodiles.

In 2006, a pair of crocodiles was found due to the overflowing waters of the Tapi River in the sprawling area of Amroli. This pair was subsequently placed in the Sarthana Nature Park managed by the Surat Municipal Corporation. Under the Animal Exchange Program, the crocodiles housed in the Sarthana Nature Park were transferred to other zoos across the country, leading to the successful acquisition of 63 different species of animals and birds. While it may seem surprising that the value of a crocodile equals that of a lion, tiger, or rhinoceros, it is indeed a reality. The crocodile exchange program has brought much interest to the Nature Park.

In the crocodile enclosure at the Nature Park, a total of 63 animals and birds from various zoos across the country were brought under the Animal Exchange Program. Typically shy and avoiding human disturbance, crocodiles were introduced to the Nature Park in 2008. By the years 2013-14, their numbers had increased to 15. Starting from 2014-15, the Nature Park initiated the Animal Exchange Program, aiming to bring in animals and birds from different regions of the country into the crocodile enclosures. Beginning with species like peafowl, deer, and blue bull, the program expanded to include two lions from Rajkot in 2020-21 and two white tigers, two silver pheasants, and two jackals from Rajkot in 2021-22. In the past eight years, a total of 63 animals and birds from various species have been brought into the crocodile enclosures from different zoos across the nation.

According to Dr. Rajesh Patel, the In-charge Zoo Superintendent, currently, there are 26 crocodiles in the Nature Park. Seven crocodile babies were born this year, and it’s estimated that there will be 15 births next year. The survival rate of crocodile babies in the Surat Nature Park is over 75%. This type of crocodile breeding is not happening anywhere else in India. Currently, there are seven separate enclosures for crocodiles in the park. Keeping crocodile pairs separate reduces the risk to the babies. Under the Exchange Program, the Nature Park has received 63 animals and birds against 17 crocodiles. In the coming days, preparations are underway to bring in more animals.

Rahul Sharma

My name is Rahul Sharma. As a passionate writer and explorer, I'm always seeking inspiration in lifestyle, fashion, beauty, food & drink, and travel. With years of experience in the industry, I bring a unique perspective to my writing, blending my love for culture, style, and adventure.