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Lustful lizards have to bite the bullet

Crocodile Species February 2, 1998
Web posted at: 12:05 a.m. EDT (0005 GMT)

HYDERABAD, India (CNN) -- Recess is over for the crocodiles of the Nehru Zoological Park in Hyderabad, a city in Andhra Pradesh in southern India.

The zoo had to do something to keep its crocodiles from procreating, so it put the males and females into separate habitats.

Authorities at the Hyderabad zoo hope this strategy will keep the crocodile population, now at more than 250, in check.

Asked whether it is against natural law to keep the creatures separated, K.N. Banerjee, the zoo curator, said lack of funds forces the zoo to make this move.

"The cost factor comes into the picture. We have already achieved our aim of rearing and rehabilitation (of crocs). What we are seeing here is the surplus stock," Banerjee said.

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The zoo had recently released 60 crocodiles into its natural habitat under a rehabilitation program. The zoo has a crocodile hatchery for captive breeding. It keeps three species of crocodiles -- muggers, long-nosed crocodiles and salt-water crocodiles.

Banerjee said the crocodile, which was once declared an endangered species in India, rose from 100 in 1974 to 10,000 now.

Copyright 1998 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.



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