Illustrative image. Image Credit: IANS

A crocodile that had managed to escape a nature reserve in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, earlier this week, found itself in deep water after it ended up in a village. Though it tried to keep a low profile in the village pond, the villagers spotted it. Initially, the reptile managed to scare them, however, it got caught and was held hostage. What’s more, the villagers even demanded a ransom.

Apparently, the eight-foot reptile had turned up in the village, after monsoon flooding in the area, on Tuesday. Luckily, the reserve officials soon came to its rescue.

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According to a report by the news agency, Agence France-Presse (AFP), Anil Patel, an official responsible for the buffer zone around the state’s Dudhwa Tiger Reserve said that the locals caught the crocodile, and demanded Rs50,000 (Dh2,499) to return it to the reserve.

It took hours for the officials to convince the villagers that it was illegal to hold the crocodile hostage. They had to take “help from local police and authorities to release the crocodile," according to Patel.

The villagers had no idea that the crocodile was a protected animal under India’s Wildlife Protection Act. The officials explained to them that they risked legal action, and could be jailed for up to seven years, for holding the reptile in captivity.

The crocodile is free now. "We released it into the Ghagra river the same day," said Patel. “It's important for us to educate more people about wildlife," he added.