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Bhitarkanika Saltwater Crocodiles



  Apr 16, 2024

Bhitarkanika Saltwater Crocodiles



Q: What did the latest census in Bhitarkanika reveal?

A: The 2024 census indicates a marginal increase in the saltwater crocodile population within Bhitarkanika National Park. The total count stands at 1,811 individuals.

Q: Why is Bhitarkanika important for saltwater crocodiles?

A: Bhitarkanika, with its extensive mangrove forests, is one of the three key habitats for these large reptiles in India. The other two are the Sundarbans and the Andaman & Nicobar Islands.

Q: How is the crocodile census conducted?

A: The census is a multi-day operation conducted meticulously:

Timing: Done during peak winter for improved visibility of the reptiles.

Teams: Multiple teams are formed to cover the vast network of creeks and rivers.

Expertise: Wildlife personnel are joined by herpetologists (reptile experts) for accurate counting.

Q: What are the trends seen in Bhitarkanika's crocodile population?

A: While there are year-to-year fluctuations, the overall trend in the past two decades has been one of gradual increase. This suggests a healthy environment and successful conservation efforts.

Q: What is the concern about human-crocodile conflict?

A: Increasingly, crocodiles are venturing outside the protected area. Sadly, this has led to a rise in fatal attacks on humans, especially in nearby villages and towns.

Q: Why might crocodiles be leaving Bhitarkanika?

A: Several factors could be contributing:

Competition: Growing crocodile population within the park may lead to competition for resources.

Habitat Changes: Alterations in water bodies or prey availability might be pushing them to seek new territories.

Q: What can be done to reduce human-crocodile conflict?

A: There's no single solution, but a combination of strategies is crucial:

Awareness: Educating communities about crocodile behavior and safety precautions.

Safe Zones: Designating safe areas for fishing and other water-related activities.

Relocation: In extreme cases, carefully relocating problem crocodiles.

Habitat Restoration: Maintaining healthy ecosystems within the protected area to support crocodile populations and minimize the need for them to disperse.


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