Odisha’s Bhitarkanika National Park reopens
Bhitarkanika is said to have 70 per cent of India's estuarine or saltwater crocodiles, the conservation of which was started in 1975.
Bhubaneswar, Jan 25: Bhitarkanika National Park in Odisha’s Kendrapara district reopened on Sunday after the conclusion of the annual census of estuarine crocodiles.
The national park was closed for tourists and visitors from January 15 to January 23 to facilitate the annual crocodile census, said a forest official.
Bhitarkanika is said to have 70 per cent of India’s estuarine or saltwater crocodiles, the conservation of which was started in 1975.
Union minister visit to Bhitarkanika
Union petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan visited Bhitarkanika, along with officials of the state government.
“Dense mangrove forests, exciting trekking trails, birds chirping in colonies, creeks and canals teeming with wildlife – Bhitarkanika National Park spoils you for choices. An off-the-beaten track, a visit to Bhitarkanika is a must during this time of the year,” tweeted Pradhan.
“The second largest mangrove ecosystem in the country, Bhitarkanika is often referred as ‘Mini Amazon’ in India. Home to saltwater crocodiles, the park also is the only habitat of the rare and endangered albino estuarine crocodiles,” he said.
Restrictions on visitors
“Restrictions were imposed on visitors to prevent noise pollution during the headcount of the reptiles in Bhitarkanika,” the divisional forest officer, Rajnagar Mangrove Forest Division (Wildlife), Bikash Ranjan Dash, said.
The purpose was to keep the place free from human interference for carrying out the census meticulously, he said.
Sound pollution following human activity distracts wildlife and hinders a foolproof census exercise, Dash said.
“We are ready to play host to domestic and international tourists after a nine-day break. We receive about one lakh tourists in a year. Our emphasis is on ensuring safe and comfortable sojourn of visitors who throng here in large numbers to savour the warmth of the ecosystem and unique environs of its wetlands,” the forest officer said.