- Conservation related issues.
What to study?
For Prelims and Mains: Types of crocodiles in India, their conservation status and conservation programmes.
Context: Recent Crocodile Census by Odisha.
- The population of the saltwater or estuarine crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) has increased in the water bodies of Odisha’s Bhitarkanika National Park and its nearby areas in Kendrapara district.
- 1,742 individuals have been recorded in this year’s annual reptile census.
- The increase in population was primarily due to the far-sighted measures of the government.
Back to Basics:
There are three species of crocodilians—saltwater, Mugger and Gharial.
- The mugger crocodile, also called the Indian crocodile, or marsh crocodile, is found throughout the Indian subcontinent.
- It is listed as vulnerable by IUCN.
- The mugger is mainly a freshwater species, and found in lakes, rivers and marshes.
- The Gharial or fish eating crocodile is native to the Indian subcontinent.
- It is listed as a Critically Endangered by IUCN.
- Small released populations are present and increasing in the rivers of the National Chambal Sanctuary, Katarniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary, Son River Sanctuary and the rainforest biome of Mahanadi in Satkosia Gorge Sanctuary, Orissa.
It is the largest of all living reptiles. It listed as least concern by IUCN. It is found throughout the east coast of India.
Crocodile conservation programmes in India:
The Gharial and Saltwater crocodile conservation programme was first implemented in Odisha in early 1975 and subsequently the Mugger conservation programme was initiated, since Odisha is having distinction for existence of all the three species of Indian crocodilians. The funds and technical support for the project came from UNDP/ FAO through the Government of India.
‘BAULA’ PROJECT AT DANGAMAL: ‘Baula’ is the Oriya term for Saltwater Crocodile. Dangmal is in Bhitarkanika sanctuary.
MUGGER PROJECT AT RAMATIRTHA: The Ramatirtha center, in Odisha, is meant for Mugger crocodiles.
GHARIAL PROJECT AT TIKARPADA, Odisha.
CAPTIVE BREEDING OF CROCODILES AT NANDANKANAN, Odisha.
Sources: Down to Earth, Wiki and IUCN.