KENDRAPARA: The decapitated body a six feet saltwater crocodile was found in Gobari river near Alayelo village within Mahakalapada forest range of Bhitarkanika National Park on Thursday.
Forest officials retrieved the crocodile’s carcass from the river. “We suspect the reptile was choked to death by fishing nets in the deep waters of the river and later, some fishermen might have decapitated the crocodile. After getting the autopsy report, we will know the exact reason of its death,” said Mahakalapada forest range officee Bijaya Parida.
The forest officer further said it is illegal on the part of villagers to kill a crocodile which is covered under Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 and has been declared an endangered species by International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
This is the 24th incident of unnatural death of crocodiles near Bhitarkanika National Park within six years. While the unabated deaths of the reptile has baffled forest officials and environmentalists, Thursday’s incident has exposed chinks in the armour of crocodile conservation work in the park.