Kendrapara, Nov 22 (LocalWire): Forest officials will conduct a three-day mammal census from Nov 23 in Bhitarkanika National Park (BNP) of Kendrapara district.
“During the three days, we will enumerate spotted deer, wild boar, rhesus macaques, common languor, jackals, fishing cat, hyena, otter, jungle cat, mongoose, fox, hare and porcupine,” said Bimal Prasan Acharya, divisional forest officer of the park.
Acharya said this move will help in compiling baseline data of the mammals in the park in order to chalk out plans to protect them.
The water bodies of Bhitarkanika is home to 1700 salt-water crocodiles for which the crocodiles are the only natural predator of spotted deer and wild boars in the park.
“Crocodiles do kill deer, especially fawns, and baby wild boars, but the predators do not have significant effects on the population of the deer and wild boars,” he said.
Spotted deer are seen in herds of 10-30 containing two or three stags; but assemblage numbering several hundred is not uncommon in Bhitarkanika.. This deer species is a prolific breeder,” said Acharya.
He further said the census of mammals particularly spotted deer and wild boar are necessary to know the exact number of these animals as many locals suffer crop loss with the animals straying around vegetable and paddy fields during day as well as night.
“However, villagers rarely retaliate on rampaging animals as they know it is an offence under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 to attack or kill the animals,” added the officer.
Forest guards, locals and environmentalists will be engaged during the mammal census in 50 forest beats of the park and its nearby areas.
In 2014, for the first time, forest officials conducted a mammal census in the park.
“During the mammal census, we sighted 7129 mammals, including 3184 spotted deer, 1660 wild boar, 1819 rhesus macaques, 15 common languor, 224 jackals, 28 fishing cat, 8 hyena, 113 otter, 14 jungle cat, 14 mongoose, 28 fox, 16 hare and 4 porcupine in Bhitarkanika,” said Acharya..
“Census report relied heavily on sighting forms,” he added.