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DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS

  • 26 August, 2022

  • 7 Min Read

Bhitarkanika National Park Odisha

Bhitarkanika National Park

Image Source - Kalinga tv

  • There has been an increased confrontation between humans and crocodiles, now that the crocodile population in the Bhitarkanika National Park has reached saturation.

About Bhitarkanika National Park

  • Orissa's Bhitarkanika National Park spans a massive 672 km2 region.
  • It has India's second-largest mangrove habitat.
  • A network of creeks and canals that receive floodwater from the rivers Brahmani, Baitarani, Dhamra, and Patasala create the National Park's distinctive environment.
  • Due to its close proximity to the Bay of Bengal, the area's soil is salt-rich, and the sanctuary's vegetation and species are mostly found in tropical and subtropical intertidal areas.
  • It serves as a breeding ground for saltwater crocodiles.
  • The greatest colony of Olive Ridley Sea Turtles may be found on Gahirmatha Beach, which defines the eastern edge of the sanctuary.
  • The Bagagahana or heronry near Surajpore Creek is the other rare occurrence.
  • Numerous birds flock to the creek to build their nests, and the soaring feats they do before mating are breathtaking to watch.
  • Eight different types of Kingfisher birds, which are also uncommon, can be found in Bhitarkanika.

Issues

  • Rising conflict: Since 2012, crocodiles have murdered around 50 individuals in and around the park, while 25 of them perished after getting into human settlements or getting entangled in fishing nets.
  • The crocodile is a territorial aquatic reptile, so it is impossible for too many of them to coexist in a limited region because there will be more rivalry for food, mates, and sunbathing spots.

Historical viewpoint

  • Due to the saturation point that the crocodile population had reached in 1991, the Union Ministry of Forest and Environment instructed the state forest department to halt the crocodile rearing program in Bhitarkanika.
  • But in 1990, the government stopped providing financing for the initiative to produce and raise crocodiles.
  • Additionally, the crocodile population in the park had increased from 94 in 1975 to roughly 1,000 by 1995, when the forest service terminated the program for breeding and releasing crocodiles there.

Way ahead

  • The government must take action to reduce the crocodile population as well as to redistribute crocodiles into wetlands throughout the entire Bhitarakanika and Mahanadi River system's mangrove forests.

Crocodile Conservation Project

  • In 1975, the Bhitarkanika Crocodile Conservation Project was launched.
  • The major goals were to safeguard the reptiles' natural habitats and rapidly repopulate them through captive breeding because the natural environment has a low survival rate for crocodile hatchlings due to predation.
  • The Gharial and Saltwater Crocodile Conservation Program were initially conducted in Odisha in early 1975, and later the Mugger Conservation Program was started. Odisha is known for the existence of all three species of Indian crocodilians.
  • Through the Government of India, UNDP/FAO provided financial assistance and other technical support.

Also, Read - Anang Tal Lake

Source: Down To Earth


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