Crocodiles (General; Miscellaneous)

Mighty_Emperor

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Well if Alexius had said Sufi's ha mystic crocs I'd probably have signed up on the spot!!!!

Mystic crocodiles draw thousands of devotees in southern Pakistan

Fri Nov 26, 4:04 PM ET


KARACHI (AFP) - Crocodiles with huge teeth-filled mouths lie in the sand and slap their snouts on the edge of sulfur springs, greeting worshippers who journey to the Mango Pir shrine on the outskirts of Pakistan's volatile port city Karachi.

It is one of thousands of Sufi shrines in this Islamic republic, where millions of devotees set out on pilgrimages, from all corners of the country, to pray, chant, dance, sing, occasionally smoke hashish, and seek healing.

Sufism is the most artistic, liberal strand of Islam, embracing song and dance as expressions of love for God.

The 700-year old Mango Pir shrine, 25 kilometers (15 miles) southwest of the city centre, is believed to be the resting place of a Hindu bandit who tried to rob the caravan of Baba Farid Shakar Ganj, a 13th century Sufi saint.

According to local legend, Mango Pir converted from Hinduism to Islam when he realised his sin, and in reward Ganj gave him lice which grew into crocodiles.

The compound surrounding his shrine swarms with some 150 crocodiles. Devotees regard the deadly reptiles as sacred, and potential fulfillers of their most fervent wishes.

Pilgrims journeying to Mango Pir make offerings not to the buried there, but to the scaly creatures.

"We have been serving these crocodiles for seven centuries and many generations. My forefathers were the followers of Mango Pir, who assigned them this task," Mohammad Sajjad Barfat, caretaker of the crocodile's sanctuary, told AFP.

Wildlife experts are unsure how the crocodiles came to be there. Some believe they may be traced back to a time when the area was a swamp.

"The area may have been a wetland some time in history and that could be the only explanation of their presence at such an isolated place," said World Conservation Union (IUCN) researcher Tahir Qureshi.

"Earlier, their natural habitat was available to them. But now they are confined to ponds and their subsistence largely relies on artificial food."

Pilgrims, including many from neighbouring India just 400 kilometers (250 miles) away, give beef, mutton or chicken to the crocodiles as offerings in the hope they will make their wishes come true.

Acceptance of the meat offerings by the "king" of the crocodiles, known as More Sawab, is taken as a sign that a wish will be granted.

"If More Sawab accepts the offering, that means the wish of the devotee is fulfilled," caretaker Barfat said.

Despite being the largest of the crocodiles, More Sawab is reputed to be friendly towards humans, although such tall tales are legion in South Asia.

"I cannot forget the incident when a child of 10 years tumbled into the pond and everyone including his mother were sure of child's ill fate," recalled the caretaker.

"But More Sawab nudged the child with his snout to help him reach the bank of the pond. It was amazing to witness."



The Mango Pir draws leprosy patients and those suffering from chronic skin diseases, seeking to bathe in the lukewarm waters gushing outside the shrine.

Scientists say the water may contain sulfur, which has therapeutic value in healing scabies, a common disease among people living in crowded areas in unhygienic conditions.

However it can aggravate other diseases.

"This is a general misconception about the Mango Pir stream, which could be good for scabies because of sulfur in the water but disastrous for (leprosy patients)," said dermatologist Sharaf Ali Shah.

Bathing in the mild gushing springs, Roshan Ali was unfazed.

"A close relative of mine told me of this sacred water and I took a bath here," Ali told AFP.

"It cured my chronic leprosy.
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Mighty_Emperor

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This gets mentioned in passing in various textbooks dealing with faunal changes due the Ice Age, etc. but I have always wondered if it was true and it appears that it is:

What a croc! Rare reptiles found in Sahara

April 9, 2005


Crocodiles living in the Sahara sounds like fiction, but Spanish scientists are investigating such a group in southern Mauritania.

The reptiles are regarded as the last remains of the abundant crocodile population which roamed the Sahara before it dried up 9000 years ago.

The few dozen Nile crocodiles subsist at a pond near the Senegalese border, Madrid's Complutense University veterinary professor Eduardo Costa said.

The pond, just 100 square metres in size, is 200 km from the nearest river, the daily El Mundo reported.

French students first discovered the crocodiles in the late 1990s. The ancestors of the animals are believed to have taken refuge near water when the once green Sahara was turning into a desert.

Spanish scientists found the pond to contain large amounts of micro-organisms which favour the presence of weeds. These nourish fish that the crocodiles feed on.

The delicate ecosystem had remained functional despite its small size for millennia, experts said, and is a "unique ecological phenomenon".

"I was struck by the active life of the crocodiles, the presence of quite a few young ones and the amount of fish they were eating," said Fernando Hiraldo, an investigator at a research station belonging to the Donana National Park in southern Spain.

Costa believes the crocodiles survived because they were far from human settlements.

Even today, local people believe that killing the crocodiles would cause the pond to dry up. In exchange, the crocodiles never attack goats or other domestic animals which come to drink from the well.

Costa said the Mauritanian desert was known to house only one other such group of crocodiles several hundred kilometres away.

The last crocodiles of the Sahara could well be doomed, if their presence becomes known and begins to draw tourists, Costa added.

The threat could also come from the local animal herders, Hiraldo said, adding he had seen traces of pesticides and anti-parasite medicines around the pond.
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Another facinateing fact about the Saharan crocs is that they hibernate the winter in very deep burrows.
 
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The pond, just 100 square metres in size, is 200 km from the nearest river, the daily El Mundo reported.
Geographically, and zoologically speaking, that's tiny!

The population must be likewise. Even the 'few dozen' can't have much room to play...

Evening Shearluck ;)
 

oll_lewis

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it's just over 124 miles from the nearest river in the archaeic now defunct imperial measurements which is about the distance by road of central london to Norwich or Cardiff to Exeter, might be just over 2 hours by train but not that close if you're walking it, especilly if you are a crocodile who moves relitively ungainly on land and in the baking sun of the saharah (remember crocs are cold blooded so would not be able to move far on the cold desert nights when the sun is down).
 

feen5

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There was a BBC wildlife programme about this not to long ago, i think it was Natural World. From what i remember the crocs were found by an Irish student from Trinity College who was studying something else in the sahara and heard about the Crocodiles.
 

UsedtobChrisFord

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My sister lived in the Phillipines for a while a couple of years back and brought back a phillipino nanny when she came back home. This girl explained to us that whenever an impressive animal like this is caught over there they either eat it or make it fight.
 

McAvennie

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Saw this the other day and thought poor bastard. All bound up like a criminal for doing nothing but what nature intended...

I recall they implied he would be housed in a reserve? My initial fear was that they just killed it.
 

rynner2

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World's largest captive crocodile Lolong dies in Philippines

The largest saltwater crocodile in captivity has died in the Philippines.
Officials said the six-metre reptile, weighing more than 1,000kg, flipped over with a bloated stomach and was declared dead several hours later.

The crocodile, blamed for the death of at least one person, was caught in September 2011 and then became the star attraction of an eco-tourism park.
It was formally declared the world's largest in captivity by Guinness World Records last year.

The crocodile, which was given the name Lolong, was captured in the town of Bunawan after a three-week hunt involving dozens of people.
The giant reptile, which measured 6.4m (21ft) and weighed in at 1,075kg (2,370lb), had begun to draw local and foreign tourists to the town.

Bunawan Mayor Edwin Elorde said Lolong had been off colour for a month.
"He refused to eat since last month and we noticed a change in the colour of his faeces," he told the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper. "Our personnel also noticed an unusual ballooning of the reptile's belly."

Local vet Alex Collantes said that unseasonably cold weather could have affected the crocodile.
Mr Elorde told the Inquirer wildlife experts would conduct an investigation into the death and said he hoped Lolong's body could be preserved.
"In that way, people can still look and marvel at him," he said.

Australian media say the mantle of largest saltwater crocodile in captivity may now pass back to Cassius, a 5.48m reptile housed at a crocodile farm near Cairns in Queensland.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-21406823
 

lordmongrove

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He should have been left in the wild. The poll and enclosure where not nearly large enough.
 

ramonmercado

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Another huge croc.

One tonne killer crocodile is caught by officials in Uganda 'after eating a man
'http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/one-tonne-killer-crocodile-is-caught-by-officials-in-uganda-after-eating-a-man-9236053.html

The reptile was captured by the Uganda Wildlife Authority after a four-day hunt

HEATHER SAUL Author Biography Thursday 03 April 2014

A giant, one-tonne crocodile has been caught by Ugandan villagers, after allegedly eating man and maiming several others in a village.

The reptile was captured by the Uganda Wildlife Authority after a four-day hunt along the shores of Lake Victoria, in Kakira village.

The crocodile, believed to be approximately 80-years-old, was trapped by officials using meat on a hook and transported out of the village on a truck while more than 100 residents watching.

“Residents appealed to UWA to hunt the crocodile following the death of a resident from Kakira town council in Jinja district,” a UWA official told The New Vision Ugandan daily.

This picture taken on March 31, 2014 shows residents of the Kakira village, in the Jinja District of eastern Uganda, gathering to look at a crocodile that was captured by Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) staff. The reptile's presence proved problematic for local fisherman, who became too scared to approach the lake until it was caught.

The crocodile has since been transferred to the Murchison Falls National Park. At 1,000 kg, it weighs just 75 kg less than Lolong, the world's largest crocodile, who died last year.
 

lordmongrove

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It seems this one is been transfered to a wildlife reserve. Hope it survives. I wonder how long it is?
 

EnolaGaia

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That croc must be relatively tame. A wild one would have made more effort.
 
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