Odisha’s Kendrapara district: Only place to have all 3 Crocodile Species
Kendrapara district of Odisha, that is crisscrossed by rivers, creeks and water inlets, has become the only district in India where all three species of crocodiles viz., salt-water, gharial and mugger are found.
- District has also claimed fame for its successful conservation programme launched for salt-water or estuarine crocodiles at the Bhitarkanika National Park.
- The national park comprises of 1,768 estuarine crocodiles and is home to 70 per cent of India’s estuarine crocodiles.
- Now, with the sighting of mugger and gharial crocodiles, all three species of crocodiles are found in the river systems of Kendrapara district.
- Gharial hatchling was rescued from Paika river which is a tributary of Mahanadi on August 29, 2021.
- In 2016, a 14-feet-long mugger was sighted.
Bhitarkanika river systems
Bhitarkanika river systems are home to saltwater crocodiles. On the other hand; Mahanadi River, Brahmani rivers and their tributaries are inhabited by muggers and gharials. Sighting of the crocodiles is significant because conservation of these species (Muggers and Gharials) has not been as successful as that of the estuarine crocodiles.
Bhitarkanika National Park
This larger national park is located in the northeast Kendrapara district of Odisha. It obtained the status of a Ramsar site in 2002. The area the second Ramsar site of Odisha after the Chilika Lake. The Park is surrounded by Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary, Gahirmatha Beach, Marine Sanctuary, separating swamp region as well as mangroves from the Bay of Bengal. Park is home to Saltwater crocodile king cobra, Indian python, black ibis, darters and other species of flora and fauna.