Kendrapada:31/7/19: After remaining out of bounds for tourists for three months, the Bhitarkanika National Park will reopen from tomorrow for nature’s lovers who long for savouring the warmth of congenial wetland spots.
The national park had been closed from May 1 and till July 31 for tourists and visitors to ensure disturbance-free annual nesting of crocs. The reptiles often turn violent and attack intruders during this period. So the objective was to ensure the safety of humans and provide congenial environs to the breeding crocodiles.
Boat journey along the mangrove-covered water bodies is a major attraction for tourists. On any given day, 350 to 400 tourists make voyage on water bodies by boats. There would be no compromise on the safety aspect. The department is intent of ensuring the safety of the travellers. The private boats which are devoid of life jackets and other safety gadgets for tourists are barred from operating. The boats and vessels that are owned by the department are all endowed with safety equipments.
Bhitarkanika is said to house 70% of India’s estuarine crocodile or saltwater crocodiles, conservation of which was started way back in 1975. According to Bhitarakanika National Park authorities, mammals found in the place are leopard, wild boar, jungle cat, fishing cat, hyena, sambar, striped palm squirrel, gangetic dolphin while reptiles found comprise turtles including Olive Ridley sea turtle, crocodile, lizard, water monitors, python, and king cobra. Around 166 species of birds have been spotted in the park.
Bhitarakanika is one of the richest storehouses of mangrove genes. Researchers have come across 11 of the 70 mangrove species, which were facing threat of extinction in the world, in Bhitarakanika.