The survey led by local herpetologist Anslem De Silva with the assistance of Wild Life Department officials has concluded that there are over 500 mugger crocodiles in the area which covers around 140 square kilometres.
De Silva told The Island that it must be the largest wild mugger population in the world.
De Silva, who is also the Vice Chairman of the Crocodile Species Group for World Conservation Union–IUCN and Species Specialist Group for South Asia and Iran, is conducting an islandwide two-year survey to assess the status of the two species of crocodiles – mugger and salt water crocodile in Sri Lanka.
He said that to date he had gathered data on 300 cases of crocodile attacks on humans in the recent past. His findings are based on the entire island with special emphasis on the area from the Nilwala Ganga.
His investigation has revealed that crocodile attacks occur mainly due to mistakes of humans who often bath in places not protected by crocodile fences. “The Crocodile is a very intelligent animal; it observes its prey for days, even months before attacking,” says de Silva.
De Silva was the first to do a comprehensive study on snake bites in 1978. He requests the public to provide information on crocodile attacks and deaths. He could be contacted on 071 2748411.