ANGUL: The Forest department officials have been unable to trace the gharial hatchlings which were spotted after decades in Satkosia gorge under Tikarpara range. Sources said, 28 gharial hatchlings were spotted with their mother at Baladmara area of the sanctuary on May 20.
The breeding reportedly took place after almost 40 years, prompting forest officials to take necessary steps to ensure their protection. However, the baby gharials have not been sighted since June 16 raising concern and speculations of the reptiles making way into the wild.
On June 19, Regional Chief Conservator of Forests (RCCF) Pradeep Raj Karat had held an emergency meeting with DFOs of six divisions and alerted them to be watchful of the crocodiles’ movement and ensure their protection.
“The baby gharials have grown and seem to have dispersed into the wild. While they can survive by preying on fish and other creatures, there is danger if they venture out of the river and enter various nullahs. We have also banned fishing in that portion of the river,” he said, adding that the department had been alerted to remain watchful of their movement.
Meanwhile, principal chief conservator of forests (PCCF) Sashi Paul visited Satkosia on June 23 to monitor the situation. At present, there are total eight gharials - one male and seven female - in Satkosia gorge sanctuary.