Villagers worried after spurt in crocodile population

Kendrapara: The spurt in crocodile population in Bhitarkanika might have brought cheer to wild life enthusiasts, but locals in and around the sanctuary are a terrified lot especially after the large reptiles mauled two persons in the last three days.

The locals in Aul, Rajnagar, Pattamundai and Mahakalpada areas of the district are living in a state of constant fear as the reptiles have begun straying into human habitation.

As per reports, the number of crocodile nest has increased to 101 in the sanctuary this year. While 84 nests were spotted in Kanika range, 13 were spotted in Rajnagar range, three in Gahirimatha and one in Mahakalapada, informed Bimala Prasanna Acharya, Divisional Forest Officer (DFO), Rajnagar.

Last year the number of nest in the sanctuary was 80, he added.

“There is neither any announcement from the district administration cautioning villagers about the attack nor have any posters been released. These recent attacks have left us scared and panicked,” said Ishwara Chadra Sahu, a resident of Pattamundai.

Another resident said locals are not allowing children and cattle to roam near the river. “We demand  permanent solution to this menace,” he added.

On the other hand, forest officials refused the charges and stated villagers have been cautioned about the movement of crocodile in their areas and advisory has been issued to them.

“We have issued advisories asking people not to venture near the river ghats and stay alert of any possible crocodile attacks,” said Amaresh Nath, ranger of Rajnagar.