Odisha: Forest department intensifies vigil as crocodiles lay eggs

Forest guards have been directed to keep a watch on the movement of the female crocodiles and local forest dwellers who illegally enter the forest to collect honey and wood.
Representative image
Representative image

KENDRAPARA : Even as estuarine crocodiles have started laying eggs in mangrove forest of Bhitarkanika national park, Forest department officials are keeping a watch on the reptiles’ nests.

Assistant chief conservator of Bhitarkanika national park, Manas Das said the Forest department has imposed a three-month ban on entry of tourists to the national park during the mating and nesting period of crocodiles from May 1 to July 31. During the period the estuarine crocodiles get disturbed by presence of human beings. The females lay and guard their eggs till the hatchlings emerge out of them, if they are disturbed, the reptiles become violent and attack human being.

Forest guards have been directed to keep a watch on the movement of the female crocodiles and local forest dwellers who illegally enter the forest to collect honey and wood. In order to prevent the entry of villagers, the department has restricted movement in the forest.

On June 5, a salt-water crocodile had killed a 56-year-old man at Singidi village near Bhitarkanika while he was taking bath in Kharosotra river, informed the forest officer. Last year, 122 salt-water crocodile nests were spotted and 50 nests have already been sighted this year. The numbers of nests will be increased soon, said the forest officer.

The Forest department has recently erected barricades at 120 river ghats around Bhitarkanika in Aul, Rajnagar , Rajkanika and Pattamundai blocks to prevent the crocodiles from attacking human beings. “We have also escalated our campaign by distributing posters and pamphlets and making announcements on loudspeakers in to warn villagers not to venture into the water and river bank as crocodiles have already started laying eggs,” Das said.

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