Current Distribution of Crocodylus palustris
SUMMARY OF DISTRIBUTION
Countries where present
Iran, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka
Current presence unconfirmed
Countries where likely extirpated
ACCURACY OF DATA
Distribution is based on available data, last updated September 2012. The quality of those data vary between countries, some of which are recent and accurate, others of which are likely to be outdated or uncertain. This map presents our best guess as to where this species is currently found, based on historical maps and updated information provided primarly by local experts and IUCN-SSC Crocodile Specialist Group members. Crocodiles are also highly mobile and may be found as itinerants outside of their typical distribution. Areas of likely extirpation are typically that way due to loss of suitable habitat, although it remains possible though unlikely that small pockets exist unreported. The map and distribution notes below will be updated if new information become available.
DETAILED DISTRIBUTION BY COUNTRY
There are currently estimated to be more than 3500 mugger crocodiles living in the wild within India, with the largest numbers being present within the states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Goa, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Orissa, Gujarat, and Rajasthan (Vyas 2010). Within Maharashtra the species has been confirmed from the Krishna River and its tributaries, as well as Chandoli Dam of Chandoli National Park, the Kadavi River and other areas. Human-crocodile conflict (HCC) has been documented within southern Maharashtra is recent years (Whitaker 2007). Within Tamil Nadu mugger crocodiles are present within many areas including the Cauvery River and man-made water bodies such as Stanley Reservoir, Sathanur Reservoir, Amaravathi Reservoir, and the Vakkaramari Waterworks (Rom Whitaker pers. comm.). Within Goa state a unique situation exists where mugger crocodiles have adapted to living in mangrove-lined brackish waters along the coast, habitat typically occupied by the saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus). Within Karnataka the species is known from a number of areas including the Kabini River, the Cauvery River (P.O. Nameer pers. comm.) and Ranganthittu Bird Sanctuary (Venugopal and Prasad 2003). Within Orissa mugger crocodiles are not present within coastal areas occupied by the saltwater crocodile, but they are present in other areas. Known Orissa localities include Ghodahad Reservoir (Lala A.K. Singh pers. comm.), Simlipal Tiger Reserve and the Mahanadi River in Sathkosia Gorge (Rom Whitaker pers. comm.). Reports of the species have also come from Koraput Forest and Ghumsur Forest, but these have yet to be confirmed (Lala A.K. Singh pers. comm.). Gujarat state was believed to hold 1650 mugger crocodiles during the mid-1990s, but current numbers are unknown. Known Gujarat localities include the Vishwamitri River, the Narmada River, the Tapi River, and other areas. The species has adapted to living within a heavily polluted portion of the Vishwamitri River within Vadodara city, where much human-crocodile conflict has been recorded in recent years. The mugger crocodile population within this small stretch of river has grown substantially over the past two decades, from nine individuals recorded in 1993 to 81 individuals recorded in 2009 (Vyas 2010). The species is present within Uttar Pradesh, even alongside the Indian gharial (Gavialis gangeticus) in two areas. Uttar Pradesh localities include Katerniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary (Das et al. 2010), the Chambal River, the Yamuna River and other areas. Human-crocodile conflict has been recently recorded from the Yamuna and Chambal Rivers, as well as the Rapti River, Saryu River, Kandava River, and Kailashpuri Dam within Katerniaghat. Madhya Pradesh state holds populations of the species within Madhav National Park, Pench Tiger Reserve (Chandra and Gajbe 2005) and National Chambal Sanctuary, along the Chambal River (Meshram 2010), as well as within other areas. Rajasthan state holds mugger crocodile populations within Ranthambore National Park, Jawa Reservoir (Thorbjarnarson 1992), Borkhandi River (Whitaker 2007), Baghdarrah Lake (Joshi et al. 2011), and various other locations. In Kerala mugger crocodiles are known from a variety of areas including Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary, Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary, Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary (P.O. Nameer pers. comm.), and the Nugu River (Rom Whitaker pers. comm.); human-crocodile conflict has recently been reported from the Chalakudy River. Within Andhra Pradesh the mugger crocodile can be found in a number of areas including Manjira Wildlife Sanctuary and Pocharam Wildlife Sanctuary (Pocharam Reservoir) (IBCN 2011), as well as within Shivaram Wildlife Sanctuary along the Godavari River (Bharat Online 2012). The northeastern state of Bihar also holds mugger crocodile populations, known localities include wetlands within Valmiki Tiger Reserve and the Gandak River (Choudhary 2010), and human-crocodile conflict has recently been reported from both Valmiki and further south within the Goeti River near Bagaha. Within Chattisgarh state recently human-crocodile conflict has been documented from the Indravati River. The species reaches its northernmost distribution within Uttarakhand state where populations are known from Corbett Tiger Reserve (the Ram-Ganga River and Sonanadi Reservoir) and the Baan-Ganga Wetlands near Laxar. Recent information has confirmed a present within Rajaji National Park and even within the Ganges River near Haridwar City (Joshi et al. 2011). The presence of the mugger crocodile within the northeastern extreme of India (e.g. Assam state) appears to be unlikely and there are no reliable records. Despite reports of a "crocodile-like" animal within the Pakke Tiger Reserve, surveys yielded no sightings. Even historical records suggest the species was unable to populate Assam's river systems (Abhijit Das pers. comm.). Within Haryana state a small population of mugger crocodiles exists within Kurukshetra and within Jharkhand state the species occurs within portions of the Ganges and its tributaries (B.C. Choudhury pers. comm.). Mugger crocodiles are no longer present in West Bengal and likely went extinct within the Sundarbans some time ago (Rahman 2000).
The mugger crocodile is present throughout much of Sri Lanka and even lives alongside the saltwater crocodile, C. porosus, within some areas. The species inhabits numerous man-made lagoons throughout the country, known locally as "tanks" (Rom Whitaker pers. comm.), as well as within rivers and wetlands. The largest mugger crocodile population in both Sri Lanka and the world exists within Yala National Park in the southeastern portion of the country (de Silva et al. 2009. The species naturally occurs alongside the saltwater crocodile within the Muthurajawela Wetlands north of Colombo (Santiapillai and Silva 2001) and alongside relocated "nuisance" saltwater crocodiles within Bundala National Park and Yala National Park, where predation upon mugger crocodiles by these large relocated saltwater crocodiles has been recorded (Rom Whitaker pers. comm.) Populations are also known from Wilpattu National Park (Santiapillai and Silva 2001) which occupies portions of both North Central Province and North Western Province. Populations have also recently been confirmed from the Jaffna Peninsula, from which they had previous been extirpated (Santiapillai and Wijeyamohan 2004), and Mannar Island off the northwestern coast (Anslem de Silva pers. comm.).
The mugger crocodile is present within portions of southern Nepal along the border with India. Populations are known from habitat along the Karnali River (Lal Shrestha and Nepali n.d.) and the Narayani River (Smith et al. 1996), as well as within other areas such as Rani Tal Lake. Perhaps the largest population of mugger crocodiles within Nepal exists within Chitwan National Park and its rivers (including the Rapti River), where the mugger crocodile exists alongside the Indian gharial (G. gangeticus) (Lal Shrestha and Nepali n.d.).
The mugger crocodile is known from several locations within southern Pakistan, but is threatened by the construction of dams, drought, hunting, and detrimental fishing practices. Within Singh province populations are known from Deh Akro 2 Wildlife Sanctuary, particularly within Wasoo Lake and Chach Lake, as well as within the Nara Canal near Khairpur, Chotiari Reservoir and, further to the south, Haleji Lake. Within Balochistan province the species is known from the Hingol River, Dasht River, Nahang River (along the border with Iran) and other areas. It is believed to be extinct within Punjab province (Chang et al. 2012). The current total population of mugger crocodiles within Pakistan is estimated to be 600 individuals (de Silva and Lenin 2010).
The mugger crocodile reaches the westernmost point of its modern day distribution within the Sistan and Baluchestan Province of eastern Iran. The Sarbaz River and Pishin Dam are regarded as the most important localities for the species (Abtin 2012), but populations are also known from the Nahang River along the border with Pakistan and other areas (de Silva and Lenin 2010). The primary threats to the survival of the species within Iran appear to be a combination of drought and flooding (Abtin 2012).
Mugger crocodiles are believed to have been eliminated from Bhutan at some point during the 20th Century, likely by the 1960s (de Silva and Lenin 2010). Within Bangladesh the species is functionally extinct with the only mugger crocodiles present existing within a pond in Bagerhat of Khulna Division. The species was formerly present throughout the Ganges-Brahmaputra Flood Plain and the northern Sundarbans but has since been extirpated (Akonda n.d.). The small population at Khan Jahan Ali Shrine pond in Bagerhat consists of individuals brought in from Madras and released there (Mushtaq Ahmed pers. comm.). In recent years human-crocodile conflict at this pond, including multiple fatal attacks, has risen. The species has probably been extinct for well over a century within Myanmar, with the last sightings coming from the mid-19th Century (de Silva and Lenin 2010). It is possible that the species was more widespread than this during historic times, but as of now no conclusive evidence exists.
Abtin, E. 2012. Habitat Suitability of Mugger Crocodile in Sarbaz River, Iran. Wildlife Middle East Vol. 6 (2 & 3): 5.
Akonda, A.W. Bangladesh. n.d. URL:http://www.iwmi.cgiar.org/wetlands/pdf/bangladesh.pdf. Accessed: 2012-09-16. (Archived by WebCite® at http://www.webcitation.org/6AiW2rasW)
Bharat Online. 2012. Shivaram Wildlife Sanctuary. URL:http://www.bharatonline.com/andhra-pradesh/travel/adilabad/shivaram-wildlife-sanctuary.html. Accessed: 2012-09-15. (Archived by WebCite® at http://www.webcitation.org/6AhA4Of2Y)
Chandra, K. and P.U. Gajbe. 2005. An inventory of herpetofauna of Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. Zoos' Print Journal 20(3): 1812-1819
Chang, M.S., G.S. Gachal, A.H. Qadri and M.Y. Shaikh. 2012. Bio-ecological status, Management and Conservation of Marsh Crocodiles (Crocodylus palustris) in Deh Akro 2, Sindh-Pakistan. Sindh University Research Journal (Science Series) Vol. 44 (2): 209-214.
Choudhary, S.K. 2010. Multi-species survey of River Gandak, Bihar with focus on Gharial & Ganges river dolphin. T.M.B.U., Bhagalpur.
Das, A., D. Basu, L. Converse, and S.C. Choundhury. 2010. Herpetofauna of Katerniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary, Uttar Pradesh, India. Journal of Threatened Taxa 4 (5): 2553-2568.
De Silva, A., D.M.N.P.K. Dawundasekar, R. Whitaker, W.A.A.D.U. Indrajith and H.K. Susantha. 2009. Mugger crocodile (Crocodylus palustris): Observations of Muggers at Block 1, Ruhuna (Yala) National Park. Crocodile Specialist Group Newsletter 28(4): 7-9.
De Silva, A. and J. Lenin. 2010. Mugger Crocodile Crocodylus palustris. Crocodiles, Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan. Third Edition, ed. By S.C. Manolis and C. Stevenson. Crocodile Specialist Group: Darwin: 94-98.
IBCN. 2011. Important Bird Areas in India - Andra Pradesh. URL:http://ibcn.in/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/13-136-168-Andhra-Pradesh.pdf. Accessed: 2012-09-15. (Archived by WebCite® at http://www.webcitation.org/6Ah9o3taE)
Joshi, R., R. Singh and M.S. Negi. 2011. First record of mugger crocodile Crocodylus palustris (Lesson, 1831) from the Rajaji National Park, North India. International Journal of Biodiversity and Conservation Vol. 3 (9): 444-450.
Lal Shrestha, R. and H.S. Nepali. n.d. Nepal. 2012-09-16. URL:http://www.iwmi.cgiar.org/wetlands/pdf/Nepal.pdf. Accessed: 2012-09-16. (Archived by WebCite® at http://www.webcitation.org/6AiVqhJYi)
Meshram, P.K. 2010. Diversity of some fauna in National Chambal Sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh, India. Biodiversitas Vol. 11 (4): 211-215.
Rahman, L.M. 2000. The Sundarbans: a unique wilderness of the world. USDA Forest Service. URL:http://www.fs.fed.us/rm/pubs/rmrs_p015_2/rmrs_p015_2_143_148.pdf. Accessed: 2012-09-15. (Archived by WebCite® at http://www.webcitation.org/6AhAXWuwS)
Santiapillai, C. and M.D. Silva. 2001. Status, distribution and conservation of crocodiles in Sri Lanka. Biological Conservation 97: 305-318.
Santiapillai, C. and S. Wijeyamohan. 2004. Rediscovery of Crocodiles in the Jaffna Peninsula, Sri Lanka. Crocodile Specialist Group Newsletter Vol. 23 (1): 15-16.
Smith, B.D., B. Bhandari and K. Sapkota. 1996. Aquatic biodiversity in the Karnali and Narayani river basins, Nepal. IUCN Nepal, Kathmandu (Nepal). 59 pp.
Thorbjarnarson, J. 1992. Crocodiles: An Action Plan for Their Conservation. IUCN/SCC Crocodile Specialist Group. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland, and Cambridge, UK: 39.
Venugopal, P.D. and Prasad,K.V.D. 2003. Basking Behavior and Survey of Marsh Crocodiles Crocodylus palustris (Lesson, 1831) in Ranganthittu Bird Sanctuary, Karnataka, India. Hamadryad Vol. 27 (2): 241-247.
Vyas, R. 2010. The Muggers (Crocodylus palustris) of Vishwamitri River: Past and Present. Herpetology & Environmental Research Project (HERP), Vadodara, Gujarat, India.
Whitaker, N. 2007. Survey of human/crocodile conflict in India, Maharashtra State, December 2007. Madras Crocodile Trust.
SPECIES LIST | BIOLOGY DATABASE | COMMUNICATION | CAPTIVE CARE
CROCS ON FILM | CROC SHOTS | CHINESE ALLIGATOR FUND | CROC LINKS
Design and content by Adam Britton © 1995-2012 All rights reserved. [email]