Kendrapara : A 9.2-feet-long female estuarine crocodile, that had strayed into human settlement area in Odisha’s Kendrapara to lay eggs, was rescued on Sunday wildlife personnel much to the relief of panicked residents.
The female crocodile had dug out the nest and had laid 59 eggs near a bamboo bush in Arada village under Bijoynagar gram panchayat in Mahakalpada tehsil jurisdiction. The locals spotted the croc keeping vigil on the nest. They were panicked a lot as the reptile had turned furious and displayed violent behavioural instinct. After being informed, forest personnel rescued the crocodile and retrieved the eggs from the nest, said Mahakalapada Forest Range Officer, Bijoy Kumar Parida.
The crocodile was caught by fishing net and was released in the wild in the Kharinasi creek. The eggs recovered from the nest are being relocated to Dangmal crocodile research centre in Bhitarkanika National Park from artificial and captive breeding of the eggs, he said.
The village where the croc was spotted with its nest is a thickly populated area. Therefore, we made up our minds to relocate the animal with its eggs. We laid priority on humans’ safety as these reptiles turn furious on any form of human interference near their nests. Cases of man-crocodile conflict are often during this time of the period as marauding crocodiles are found attacking people to protect their nests, the forest range officer said.
In view the commencement of the breeding season, the forest department is also giving priority to the safety of the locals.
The nesting season of these salt-water crocodiles is currently in full swing. Local residents need to remain watchful and vigilant and maintain a safe distance from crocodile-infested water-bodies. In view of the nesting season, prohibition has already been being imposed on visitors’ entry to Bhitarkanika national park to ensure the safety of humans and provide a congenial environment to the breeding crocodiles. The prohibition clamped on May 1 will remain in force till July 1 next, said forest officials.
Crocodiles are found straying from their habitats into water bodies in and around human settlements and man-crocodile conflict often reaches a flashpoint in peripheral villages of Bhitarkanika wildlife sanctuary during this period.
Bhitarkanika is said to house 70% of India’s estuarine crocodile or saltwater crocodiles, conservation of which was started way back in 1975.
The number of salt water crocodiles, the species which are not found in any other river system in Odisha, as per the latest census, in Bhitarkanika wildlife sanctuary stood is estimated to be 1742 as per the latest census.
Bhitarakanika, a Ramsar international wetland site, is one of the richest storehouses of mangrove genes. Researchers have come across 11 of the 70 mangrove species, which were facing threat of extinction in the world, in Bhitarakanika.