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Odisha's Kendrapara becomes only district in India to have all three crocodile species

  • Posted By
    10Pointer
  • Categories
    Environment
  • Published
    2nd Sep, 2021

Context

Odisha's Kendrapara district, crisscrossed by rivers, creeks and water inlets, has earned the distinction of being the only district in India where all three species of crocodiles-

  • Salt-water
  • gharial 
  • Mugger

Key-facts

  • Odisha's Kendrapara district has already claimed fame for its successful conservation programme for salt-water or estuarine crocodiles at the Bhitarkanika National Park.
  • The national park, having 1,768 estuarine crocodiles, is home to 70 per cent of India's such crocodiles, the conservation of which was started way back in 1975.
  • It is the second largest mangrove forest in India after Sunderbans, hosts the largest population of saltwater crocodiles, including white albino crocodiles.
  • It is listed as a Ramsar Site.

Crocodile in Orissa

  • The crocodilian family consists of 27 different species that are subdivided into three families: True crocodiles, alligators and caimans and gharials.
  • All three species of crocodilians in the river systems of Odisha: 
    • Gharial (Gavialis gangeticus), listed as a Critically Endangered by IUCN.
    • Mugger crocodile (Crocodylus palustris), listed as vulnerable by IUCN.
    • Saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus), listed as least concern by IUCN

Crocodile Conservation

  • The gharial and saltwater crocodile conservation programme was first implemented in Odisha in early 1975 and subsequently, the mugger conservation programme was initiated.
  • The Ramatirtha centre, meant for mugger crocodiles within the Similipal Tiger Reserve, initially started with eggs and juveniles of muggers procured from Tamil Nadu.
  • Since 1984, more than 600 muggers have been captive-bred and released in Similipal.
  • A gharial project was started at Tikarpada in Angul district in 1975 with an aim to increase their population.
  • In 1975, the Union ministry of forest and environment, in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme, had started a crocodile breeding and rearing project in Dangamala within the Bhitarkanika.
  • In January 2021, there were 1,768 saltwater crocodiles in Bhitarkanika, up from 96 in 1974.