Number of muggers stagnant in Ghodahada reservoir

Berhampur: The population of mugger, an endangered crocodile species found in the Ghodahada irrigation reservoir near Digapahandi in Ganjam district, has remained nearly stagnant for the past two years.

The census of the mugger, also known as marsh crocodile,in and around a four-sq-km reservoir area, was conducted byBerhampur forest division on Sunday. The census count foundthe numbers of mugger at 55. The population of the crocodilespecies was 49 in the reservoir in 2015, officials said while 39 muggers have been spotted in the reservoir area,16 others were sighted in the nearby water bodies, they said.In the last year, 44 and 11 muggers were spotted in the reservoir and outside the reservoir areas respectively, they added.

ivisional forest officer, Berhampur Ashish Kumar Beherasaid the muggers might have migrated to other nearby water bodies

About 30 personnel including forest staff were pressed for enumeration of the muggers in direct sight method.Twelve boats were also engaged for the purpose, said the DFO.

Mugger is one of the three crocodile species found in the state. The other species found in Odisha are gharial and salt-water crocodile or estuarine crocodile. Ghodahada reservoir is considered as one of the potential habitats for muggers in the state after Satakosia and Similipal, he said.

Also Read:Marginal rise in population of ‘mugger’ in Odisha
The muggers in Ghodahada swim safely as the local fishermen do not harm them. This despite frequent reports of destruction of the fishing nets by the animal, said DFO.

As the mugger is one of the attractions in Ghodahad, the wildlife organisation is planning to make the picturesque place an eco-tourism site.

“As the reservoir is in the possession of water resources department, we will discuss with them for making Ghodahada as eco-tourism site,” said a senior officer of the wildlife organisation.