OdishaWeather and Environment

Cyclone YAAS destroys Crocodile nesting spots in Bhitarkanika National Park

Kendrapara : The Severe Cyclonic storm “Yaas” which hit Odisha coast on May 26
last has cast its shadow on the nesting process of Estuarine crocodiles in Bhitarkanika National
DFO of Rajnagar Mangrove forest and wildlife Division Dr. Janga Datta Pati said very less
numbers of Estuarine crocodile nests were spotted this time in comparison to last year within Bhitarkanika National park
He said this year only 84 nests were spotted by the enumerators in four wildlife and forest
ranges against 103 spotted last year.
The DFO said the forest personnel have spotted as many as 70 nests of crocodiles in Kanika
forest and wildlife range, whereas 10 nests were noticed under Rajnagar forest and wildlife range
and 2 each at Mahakalpara range and Gahirmatha forest and wildlife range.
Mr.Pati attributed the less number of nests due to Yaas effect as tidal water washed several
nests, in which crocodiles laid eggs under Kanika Range during high tide.
The enumerators had spotted 90 estuarine crocodile nests at Kanika Range but this time the
number has reduced to 70.
Generally, the Estuarine crocodile used to form nests on the same spot or nearby areas where
they earlier laid eggs by forming nests as the reptile was acquainted with the place.
But this time, the forest personnel failed to trace the nests of crocodiles in the areas where the
reptile had laid eggs.
This was a clear indication that the nests might have been destroyed or tidal water washed the
nests and eggs in the cyclonic storm Yaas
The forest personnel have collected nearly 54 estuarine crocodile eggs from a vulnerable crocodile nest to hatch it artificially at the hatchery set up inside the Dangamal-based crocodile breeding and rearing centre , the DFO, said.
A ban has been imposed on tourists entry to Bhitarkanika National park from May1 to July 31,
keeping in mind the breeding and nesting activities of Estuarine Crocodiles.
The ban was imposed as the entry of the visitors would disturb the tranquil environment of the crocodiles habitat.
The reptiles become more violent if they are disturbed during the nesting and breeding period.

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