All 3 croc species only left in Odisha's Kendrapara

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

The district has already claimed fame for its successful conservation programme for salt-water or estuarine crocodiles at the Bhitarkanika National Park

Representative image. Credit: AFP Photo

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 and mugger -- are found, a forest official said on Tuesday.

The district has already claimed fame for its successful conservation programme for salt-water or estuarine crocodiles at the Bhitarkanika National Park, he said.

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, the official said.

With the sighting of mugger and gharial crocodiles, all three species of crocodiles have been found in the river systems of the district, said JD Pati, the divisional forest officer of Rajnagar Mangrove (wildlife) Forest.

"It is a singular occurrence. In no other district in the country, three species of crocodiles are found," he said.

A gharial hatchling was rescued from Paika river, a tributary of Mahanadi, near Ameipala river in Mahakalpada block on Sunday. In 2016, the sighting of a 14-feet-long mugger was reported, he said.

These sightings provide credence to the fact that the river systems in Kendrapara district are home to all three species of crocodiles, Pati said.

The Bhitarkanika river systems are home to salt water crocodiles, while the Mahanadi and Brahmani rivers and their tributaries that pass through the district are inhabited by muggers and gharials, the officer said.

It assumes significance because conservation of these species has not been as successful as that of the estuarine crocodiles, he said.

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