Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Kendrapara, Jan 6:
Bhitarkanika National Park in Odisha’s Kendrapara district will remain closed for visitors from January 8 to 17 for annual census of salt water crocodiles and migratory birds. During this period tourists will not be allowed into the national park.
Forest department officials said 17 teams will be deployed for counting of crocodiles and migratory birds.
Counting of crocodiles will be undertaken in Rajnagar, Dangmal, Gahirmatha and Mahakalpada ranges.
Similarly, head counting of migratory birds will be undertaken in Mathabadia, Kalibhanjia, Bagagahan, Satbhaya, Gahirmatha etc areas during the period.
Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) of Bhitarkanika National Park Bimal Prasanna Acharya said, the restriction will be in place for nine days to prevent noise pollution during counting.
A rise in the crocodile population has been noticed after a breeding and rearing project in Dangamala was opened within the national park by the Ministry of Environment and Forests in collaboration with UNDP, the forest officer added.
It is worthwhile to mention that forest officials last year counted 1,665 salt water crocodiles in the national park.
The head count drive of the endangered estuarine crocodiles would be conducted under the supervision of wildlife personnel.