Satkosia gorge sancutary to guard gharial hatchlings in view of Hirakud's flood water release
With the water release and resultant swelling of the Mahanadi, the hatchlings are feared to stray into side streams thereby prompting sanctuary officials to raise guard for their protection.
ANGUL: With Hirakud Dam set to release first flood water into river Mahanadi on Sunday, authorities of Satkosia Gorge Sanctuary have ramped up measures to keep the recently spotted gharial hatchlings out of danger. With the water release and resultant swelling of the Mahanadi, the hatchlings are feared to stray into side streams thereby prompting sanctuary officials to raise guard for their protection.
Sources said forest officials of Satkosia, Athmallik, Boudh and Mahanadi divisions are on alert to ensure the baby gharials are protected in case they stray into offshoot waterbodies. There has been concern among forest authorities as none of the young gharials have been traced after they went out of sight last month.
As many as 28 gharial hatchings were first spotted in the Baladmara area of the sanctuary in May, reportedly after a gap of 40 years but seem to have dispersed into the wild. They have not been sighted since June 16. Regional Chief Conservator of Forests (RCCF), Angul Pradeep Raj Karat said water level of the Mahanadi will rise after Hirakud release and flow into creeks and tributaries.
“In such a situation we have alerted forest authorities of four divisions to take precautionary measures including deployment of manpower at various side streams to keep a watch on the baby gharials. In case they are traced, the baby gharials will be released into a specialised pool in the sanctuary area as there is constant danger to their lives,” he said.