By Jamshid Parchizadeh and Jerrold L. Belant

Mitigating potential flood-induced human-crocodile conflicts in Iran’s Sistan and Baluchestan Province

April 4, 2020 - 18:24

The Vulnerable mugger crocodile (Crocodylus palustris) is native to southeastern Iran where about 350 individuals occur in the Bahukalat Protected Area in Sistan and Baluchestan Province.

Recent extreme flooding in Sistan and Baluchestan Province affecting lots of villages and towns has allowed muggers to leave their typical habitat and occupy these areas. The Sistan and Baluchestan Provincial Office of Iran’s Department of the Environment (DOE) has issued a warning about the potential of attack by muggers throughout the province.

Mugger attacks on humans in Sistan and Baluchestan Province can lead to injury or death. Therefore, an urgent action required to mitigate potential attacks in these flood-stricken areas including trained personnel to capture crocodiles in and near villages and relocate them to the Bahukalat River (primary habitat of the crocodiles). Longer-term solutions can include: 1) fencing primary habitat along the Bahukalat River, while ensuring sufficient water is available for local people to not require the use of water from the nearby ponds, particularly during periods of drought, and 2) Completing unfinished dams, which have been put to a halt for many years, to stop or restrict the flow of water. These actions will require close cooperation among the Iranian government, DoE, and non-governmental organizations with strong government support crucial to save both humans and muggers in this frequently-flooded area of Iran.

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