Kendrapara, March 23 (LocalWire): A carcass of a 10-feet-long salt-water crocodile was found near the Nalitapatia village in Bhitarkanika National Park (BNP), a forest official said on Saturday.
“The croc was last spotted near Jayanagar village in Khola River on December 30. It’s the second incident of unnatural death of a crocodile in the park in three months,” DFO Bimal Prasan Acharya said.
“We suspect the reptile was choked by fishing nets in Bramahani river. The exact cause of death will be known only after the autopsy,” he said.
Crocodiles are endangered in India, and protected under Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, the highest protection accorded to a wild animal.
The water bodies in and around Bhitarkanika is home of about 1,700 endangered salt-water crocodiles.
Rampant illegal fishing in water bodies, a lifeline for these animals, has taken a toll on crocodiles.
“As illegal fishing continues, more and more crocodile carcasses wash ashore entangled in fishing nets,” said Hemant Rout, secretary of Gahiramatha Marine Turtles and Mangrove Conservation Society.
In January this year, a crocodile count recorded 1,742 crocs in the park.