Kendrapara, October 14 (LocalWire): The carcass of a five feet long female saltwater crocodile was found on Monday in the Patasala river near Bagapatia village within Bhitarkanika National Park (BNP) in Kendrapara district.
This is the fourth incident of unnatural death of reptiles within ten months and 27th death of crocodiles in the park for seven years which baffled the forest officials and environmentalists.
“We retrieved the carcass that was floating in the river. We suspect the reptile was choked by fishing nets in the deep waters of the river.
After getting the autopsy report, we will know the exact reason for the death,” the park’s forest range officer Amaresh Pradhan said.
The death of an endangered salt-water crocodile on Monday has exposed the gaps in crocodile conservation work in the park.
The rivers, creeks and other water bodies within the Bhitarakanika are the home of about 1,700 endangered saltwater crocodiles and fishing is banned here to protect the species.
However, some locals illegally fish in the river, which at times takes the toll on this rare species of estuarine crocodiles.
“As illegal fishing continues unabated, more and more crocodile carcasses wash ashore entangled in fishing nets,” Gahiramatha Marine Turtles and Mangrove Conservation Society secretary Hemant Rout said.
In 1975, the Ministry of Forest and Environment in a collaboration with UNDP had started a crocodile breeding and rearing project in Dangamala within the Bhitarkanika.
The forest officials had counted 1,742 saltwater crocodiles in the park in January this year, Rout stated.