Fishermen Thinking They Hooked a Big Fish Accidentally Catch a Crocodile

On Wednesday, two fishermen in Bareilly, India felt an unusually large tug in their net and naturally got excited over the prospect of reeling in a large fish. But their excitement quickly turned to shock when they discovered that a crocodile was entangled in their net.

Times of India reported the incident took place in the Ramganga river. According to the outlet, one fisherman tried to haul the catch from the water immediately upon feeling the tug; however, it was too heavy for him alone, so he called his fellow fisherman to help. When the two men finally managed to pull the net from the water, they found an adult mugger crocodile tangled inside.

Multiple reports claim that as the crocodile attempted to make its way back into the water after freeing itself from the net, the two fishermen started to drag the creature by its tail. But they were unsuccessful in capturing the creature, and it eventually escaped for good.

According to News 18, Bharat Lal, Bareilly's divisional forest officer, commented on the incident, calling it "very risky and unbelievable." He also defined the fisherman's actions toward the animal as an "act of cruelty," stating that "necessary action" would be taken against the men.

Speaking with Times of India, a witness said that while crocodile sightings are common in the area, actually catching one is rare. He was shocked that the two fishermen interacted with the animal that most try to avoid.

"It has happened for the first time that a crocodile got stuck in our net and most of us didn't know what to do but we did not want to risk going close to it," he said. "Surprisingly, two men caught its tail and attempted to drag it out of the river."

The BBC reported in 2019 that mugger crocodiles were once widespread throughout India. Sadly, due to being targeted by hunters for their skin, meat and eggs, their population rapidly declined in the 1950s and 60s. Thanks to conservation efforts, the mugger population has increased.

Now, mugger crocodiles are listed as "vulnerable" on the IUCN Red List, with an estimated Indian population of 3,021 to 4,287, and a total population of 5,700 to 8,700.

Mugger crocodiles are protected in India under the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972. Those who catch, kill or transport a crocodile could receive a hefty fine.

mugger crocodile
Due to being targeted by hunters for their skin, meat and eggs, the mugger crocodile population in India rapidly declined in the 1950s and 60s. A stock image of a mugger crocodile in Nepal. Alberto Carrera/iStock