Kendrapara, Dec 6 (LocalWire) Decapitated body a six feet salt water crocodile was found on Thursday in Gobari river near Alayelo village within Mahakalapada forest range of Bhitarkanika National Park (BNP) in Kendrapara district.
“The forest officials retrieved the floating body from the water. We suspect the reptile was choked to death by fishing nets in deep waters of the river. Afterwards, some fishermen might have decapitated it,” said Mahakalapada forest range officer Bijaya Parida.
“After getting the autopsy report, we will know the exact reason of the death,” he said.
Pertinently, it is illegal to kill a crocodile as it is covered under Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 and has been declared an endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
This is the 24th incident of unnatural death of crocodiles near Bhitarkanika within six years.
The rivers, creeks and other water bodies within the Bhitarkanika is the home of about 1700 endangered salt water crocodiles.
“Fishing is banned in the water bodies of Bhitarkanika. But some locals illegally fish in the river, which is taking toll on the rare species of estuarine crocodiles,” said Gahiramatha Marine Turtles and Mangrove Conservation Society (MTMCS) secretary Hemant Rout.
In 1975, the Ministry of Forest and Environment, in a collaboration with UNDP, had started a crocodile breeding and rearing project at Dangamala within the Bhitarkanika.
Forest officials counted 1698 salt water crocodiles in the water bodies of the park this year, said Rout.