Bhitarkanika to stay off-limits for visitors from May 1

Kendrapara: Visitors will be barred from entering Bhitarkanika National Park (BNP) from May 1 during the nesting and breeding period of crocodiles. The restriction by the forest department will be in force till July 31.

According to sources, the ban is imposed every year to create a peaceful environment for the reptiles to nest and breed. The reptiles become violent and attack people in the vicinity if they are disturbed during this period. In view of the safety of the tourists, the restrictions are imposed every year during this period, said sources.

“This is the nesting and breeding time of the crocodiles. The reptiles are aggressive and violent during this time. As a precautionary measure to ensure the safety of the tourists, we have banned their entry into the park,” said Rajnagar forest division official Bimal Prasanna Acharya.

Female reptiles lay eggs inside the mangrove forest near the water bodies of the park area and guard them till the emergence of the hatchlings.

There are more than 1,600 salt water (estuarine) crocodiles in the Bhitarkanika National Park.