Kendrapara, April 19 (LocalWire): The half-eaten body of a 57-year-old farmer has been found in the river Baitarani at Bankarakua village near Bhitarkanika National Park on Friday.
Banamali Mohanty is the latest victim in a growing number of salt-water crocodile attacks in the riverside villages adjoining the national park in Kendrapara district.
Locals, forest guards and fire brigade personnel had launched a search on Thursday after Mohanty was dragged away by a crocodile while taking bath.
His mangled remains were found near the river bank on Friday taking the toll to four near Bhitarkanika this year.
Sarat Mallick of Srirampur village was killed by a crocodile in July last year.
Bijaya Patra of Dinari village was killed while he was fishing in the river and a boy Srikant Sethi, of Diapari village, was also killed by a crocodile last year.
Sporadic attacks by crocodiles are reported from areas adjoining Bhitarkanika. Many residents have recently spotted more salt water crocodiles than usual as the reptiles strayed into the rivers from the water bodies of Bhitarkanika in Aul, Rajkanika, Mahakalapada and Pattamundai areas.
‘The river-side villagers eke out their livelihoods by fishing in the rivers but due to crocodile menace their fate is now at stake,’ said Subharnshu Sutar of Rajkanika.
‘The forest department will compensate Mohanty’s family by providing Rs four lakh after due inquiry.
We ask residents not to enter the river as reptiles often stray to lay eggs during the breeding season.
We do not think crocodiles are a risk to public safety if people keep out of the waters but if they enter the waters, their safety cannot be guaranteed.
The waterbodies of Bhitarakanika is home to 1742 crocodiles as per the census report this year,’ said Bimal Prasan Acharya, the divisional forest officer of the park.