Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Kendrapara, Apr 30:
Bhitarkanika National Park in Odisha’s Kendrapara district will remain out of bound for visitors from May 1 to July 31 in view of the breeding season of salt-water crocodiles.
Visitors would be barred from entering Bhitarkanika, Dangamala and Ragadapati forest blocks during the period, said Bhitarkanika Divisional Forest Officer Bimal Prasan Acharya.
“Human interference has a negative impact on breeding of animals. The sound of the motorized boats and humans often disturbs them. Besides, protective of their eggs, the reptiles often turn violent and attack the visitors unprovoked during this period,” said Acharya.
“We close down the park to ensure safety of tourists and facilitate a congenial environment to the crocodiles,” he added.
As a precautionary measure, the park authorities will also deploy guards to keep a tab on locals intruding the park to collect honey and wood. Further, they will be tasked with guarding major nesting sites to protect the eggs from predators.
It may be mentioned here that the park had recently been closed between January 8 and 17 for annual census of salt water crocodiles and migratory birds. The forest officials had counted 1,671 salt water crocodiles including endangered estuarine crocodiles in the national park.