THE CROC BANK - CENTRE FOR HERPETOLOGY, CHENNAI
CONSERVATION AT THE CROC BANK
The captive breeding of endangered species lies at the heart of our in- house program. Many captive bred animals are translocated to various state forest departments & neighbouring countries for head starting and restocking programs. We also supply founder stock for other captive breeding initiatives and zoos. Over the years our self-taught propagation techniques for crocodilians, freshwater turtles, tortoises, water monitors & snakes including the king cobra have met with tremendous success and now represent the benchmark in this field. Present breeding efforts are focused on the critically endangered gharial and turtle species.
The Croc Bank has a state of the art veterinary care section with an onsite vet. The veterinary staff works hand in hand with the curatorial staff to ensure that all animals are healthy and maintained under optimum conditions. Routine pathological and parasitological examinations are carried out on all our animals and a regular screening and treatment protocol is followed. Pit Tags give individual animals a unique identification number and help us keep track of medical histories. Capacity building in the form of reptile-centric veterinary training is carried out at the Croc Bank on a regular basis to help equip zoos and conservation projects throughout India.
HUMAN-CROCODILE CONFLICT RESEARCH
Throughout India and particularly on the periphery of protected areas, hundreds of people and livestock are attacked by crocodiles every year. Our goal is to assist the Indian Government and relevant authorities in finding lasting solutions to this highly emotional problem of human wildlife conflict. Over the last few years the Croc Bank has been carrying out extensive applied research on the problems associated with mugger and saltwater crocodiles living in densely populated areas. Our team of travelling biologists are currently working in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh as well as the Andaman Islands.
The Croc Bank will continue its work in the fields of research, conservation and education. Venomous snakes and snakebite mitigation work is ongoing, with the Living with Snakes project creating modules for building public awareness. These will include printed material, film, classroom activities and games. Snake venoms from different states are being tested, to study the efficacy of polyvalent antivenom serum. At our field station in Agumbe, the second phase of the king cobra telemetry study is about to start. In the Andamans-Nicobars, ongoing research includes leatherback nesting sites, invasive species, and ecological effects of the fishing industry. On the Chambal River in the north, homeland of the gharial, radio-tagged gharial and mugger continue to be monitored. Others in the pipeline include outreach programs in rural schools, an interpretation centre at ARRS, Agumbe, and building awareness about environmental issues in the Andamans-Nicobars.