Ready: Sun-screen for Bhitarkanika inmates

Ready: Sun-screen for Bhitarkanika inmates

4 April 2008

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India — The Bhitarkanika authorities have planned a special summer for their inmates this time. The package includes adequate water supply and special food.

The penned estuarine crocodiles, including albino crocodile ‘Gori’ are the luckiest as efforts are being made to keep the small ponds full to the required capacity so that the reptiles do not fall prey to the heat.

As the reptile hatchlings are more susceptible to heat, wet curtains have been hung on all sides of the cages of about 200 hatchlings in the crocodile breeding and research centre at Dangamal, said P.K. Behera, Divisional Forest Officer of the park. Water is also being sprayed on the enclosures of pythons and black-cobras. The 2,500 endangered spotted deer and about 1,500 wild boars in the mangrove forest are susceptible to dual trouble of heat and poachers.

To tackle this the officials have dug 12 ditches and renovated about 32 others inside the forest to prevent the animals from moving out of the forest bounds and falling prey to poachers. Summer is a paradise for poachers as they trap these animals near the ponds of villages where deer and wild boars come to drink water.

Yet another challenge that the forest officials face is the forest fire and the man-made fire. Each fire engulfs large tracts of forest land and destroys mangrove vegetation killing animals in the process. Last year, about six acres of forest vegetation was gutted near Bagapatia.

On the other hand many villagers and honey collectors slyly enter the forest areas to collect honey from the bee-hives inside the forest and use fire or smoke to divert the bees from the hives.

This year the forest officials have deployed about 40 forest guards and imposed blanket ban on collection of honey in the park by using fire or smoke, said the forest officer.

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