Crocodiles turn on humans amid Iran water crises
The crocodile attacks have come at a time when Iran has been suffering acute water shortages and, consequentially, fast-shrinking natural habitats have seen the gandos’ food supplies dry up. The starving animals treat humans approaching their territory either as prey or a menace to their evaporating resources.
Scattered across Iran and the Indian subcontinent, gandos are broad-snouted crocodiles, classed as “vulnerable” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Iran has an estimated 400, comprising nearly 5% of the species. Iran’s Department of Environment says it is doing its utmost to strike a balance between preserving the gandos and protecting local people.
Iran’s water scarcity is not unique to Baluchistan. Deadly protests erupted in the oil-rich south-western Khuzestan province in July. And in late November, riot police in the central city of Isfahan fired birdshot at protesters gathered in the dried-up bed of the River Zayandeh-Roud.
With global warming already showing its ugly face in Iran, the implications for Baluchistan could be catastrophic when coupled with decades of water mismanagement.