Suryakant Jena

News Highlights

  • Bhitarkanika houses around 70 percent of saltwater crocodiles in the country

An 8-feet long crocodile was rescued from a pond in Kendrapara district of Odisha on Tuesday. Forest department personnel with the help of locals rescued the reptile from a pond at Raitakula village under the Rajnagar Forest division.

Water level in almost all rivers in Kendrapara district is in a swollen state due to surge in floodwaters in the basins following some days of heavy rainfall in upper catchments.

It is believed that the crocodile had strayed from the river channel to the water body near the village during the flood. 

As per sources, some locals of the village were surprised to find the massive reptile in a pond while taking bath. The panicked residents immediately sought the help of the Forest department for capturing the croc.

A team of Forest personnel along with experts rushed to the village and launched an operation to rescue the reptile. After diligent efforts, the staff finally managed to catch hold of the crocodile and later released it into Baunsagada river.

Major rivers in these parts of Kendrapara are infested with crocodiles due to their close proximity with the Bhitarkanika National Park and the mangrove forests in the deltaic region of the district.

Incidents of human-crocodile encounters in riverside villages in Kendrapara have resulted in casualties many times in the past. Not only that, straying of crocodiles into waterlogged farmlands, backyards of houses often turn into a menace affecting the day-to-day lives in the coastal district.

The Forest Department, however, has initiated series of measures to save lives of humans and domesticated animals. Dozens of danger zones have been identified in the district to make people alert from venturing into troubled waters due to frequent sightings of the reptiles.

As per sources, the population of crocodiles especially the estuarine species has increased manifold in Bhitarkanika and its nearby river ecosystems due to aggressive conservation measures way back in 1975. 

Researchers believe Bhitarkanika houses around 70 percent of saltwater crocodiles in the country. Odisha is also the only State where three species of crocodiles - estuarine, gharial, and mugger - populate the river systems.