0646 GMT January 20, 2021
Apparently, the eight-foot reptile had turned up in the village, after monsoon flooding in the area. Luckily, the reserve officials soon came to its rescue.
According to a report by AFP, Anil Patel, an official responsible for the buffer zone around the state’s Dudhwa Tiger Reserve said that the locals caught the crocodile, and demanded Rs50,000 ($680) to return it to the reserve.
It took hours for the officials to convince the villagers that it was illegal to hold the crocodile hostage. They had to take “help from local police and authorities to release the crocodile," according to Patel.
The villagers had no idea that the crocodile was a protected animal under India’s Wildlife Protection Act. The officials explained to them that they risked legal action, and could be jailed for up to seven years, for holding the reptile in captivity.
The crocodile is free now. "We released it into the Ghagra River the same day," said Patel. “It's important for us to educate more people about wildlife," he added.