Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Kendrapara, May 1:
The forest department today closed the Bhitarkanika National Park for the tourists for the breeding of saltwater crocodiles.
“The ban on the entry of the tourists will remain in force with effect from May 1 to July 31,” said DFO, Rajnagar Wildlife Division, Bimal Prasanna Acharya.
“The saltwater crocodiles tend to very aggressive during breeding season at this time of the year and attack people without provocation. Hence, considering the safety of the tourists, the Forest department has closed the park till July 31,” he said.
The DFO said as per the annual census conducted in 2014, the population of saltwater crocodile in Bhitarkanika National Park has gone up to 1,665.
As per the last year census, 511 hatchlings, 380 yearlings, 317 juveniles, 149 sub-adults, 305 adults and three giant crocodiles measuring more than 20 feet were sighted in the water bodies of the park.
It may be mentioned that the Forest and Environment ministry, in collaboration with UNDP, had started a crocodile breeding and rearing project in Dangamala within Bhitarkanika park in 1975.
“Due to the success of the project, the crocodile population has substantially gone up in the creeks, river and other water bodies of the park and its nearby areas,”, Achyara said.