About Bhitarkanika National Park

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Overview:

A 10-year-old boy was allegedly killed recently following an attack by a crocodile sparking fresh bouts of man-animal conflict in areas in the close vicinity of Bhitarkanika National Park.

About Bhitarkanika National Park:

  • Location: It is located in Kendrapara district in the state of Odisha.
  • It is India’s second-largest mangrove ecosystem after the Sunderbans. 
  • It is a 145 Sq km large national park which was designated on 16th September 1998 and obtained the status of a Ramsar site in August 2002, i.e. the second Ramsar site of the State after the Chilika Lake. 
  • This National Park is a network of creeks and canals which are inundated with waters from rivers Brahmani, Baitarani, Dhamra and Patasala, forming a unique ecosystem.
  • Flora: Mangrove species, casuarinas, and grasses like the indigo bush.
  • Fauna:
    • Bhitarkanika has one of the largest populations of endangered saltwater crocodiles in India.
    • The Gahirmatha Beach, which forms the boundary of the park in the east, is the largest colony of the Olive Ridley Sea Turtles.
    • Other mammals include monkeys, jackals, common langurs, otter, sambar deer, jungle cats, fox, Mongoose, wolfs, fishing cats, hyenas, etc.

Key facts about Saltwater crocodile:

  • Saltwater crocodiles, or estuarine crocodiles, are enormous creatures and the world's largest living reptiles.
  • Scientific name: Crocodylus porosus
  • Distribution: It inhabits brackish waters of wetlands and marine intertidal environments from SriLanka, India, Bangladesh, and Myanmar east to the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu and south to Australia’s northern coast.
  • Features:
    • The average male is 5m in length and weighs around 500kg, while females are significantly smaller.
    • They are nocturnal hunters.
    • The species is known for its aggressive nature, as shown by numerous attacks on people and livestock each year.
  • Conservation Status:
    • IUCN: Least Concern

 


Q1) What is a National Park?

A national park is a large area of land which is protected by the government because of its natural beauty, plants, or animals, and which the public can usually visit.

Source: Estuarine croc killing schoolboy echoes man-animal conflict