Kendrapara, 1st August: After three-months-long prohibition on the entry of visitors and tourists due to the breeding season of famous Saltwater Crocodiles, Bhitarkanika National Park has been finally reopened by the Government of Odisha today.
Bhitarkanika National Park is located in the Kendrapara district of Odisha state in eastern India. It houses rare and endangered verities of wildlife species, especially giant Saltwater Crocodiles. It is also the only resident of the millions of endangered Olive Ridley Sea Turtles that turn up at Gahirmatha beach every year for mass nesting.
Divisional Forest Officer, Rajnagar Wildlife Division – Bimal Prasanna Acharya said, “The wetland sites of Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary were closed for visitors and sightseers from 1st May to 31st July due to breeding season of the estuarine crocodiles.”
He further added, “Human snooping disturbs the breeding animals and the reptiles repeatedly turn violent and attack trespassers during this period, thus obliging the ban on tourists’ entry.”
According to the census carried out in January 2015, there are 1,665 saltwater crocodiles in Bhitarkanika National Park, said the forest official.
Around 68 nests of saltwater crocodiles have been marked near the bays and river system of the park and its nearby areas. Eggs will hatch within 75 days naturally. Forest administrators have also collected 100 eggs for artificial breeding at Crocodile Breeding Center.
He also disclosed that the bookings of tourists’ cottages have begun, and they are ready to play host to domestic and international tourists after a break. The National Park receives around 50,000 tourists every year, which is gradually increasing each year.
Whereas, orders have been issued to the operators to abide by the safety guidelines and those found to have not complied with the order would be banned from operating in the water-bodies within the National Park.