A three-month ban from May 1 to July 31 on the entry of tourists and visitors to the Bhitarkanika National Park in Odisha was imposed as the crocodile nesting season was underway.
Forest guards have been instructed to keep watch on the eggs of the reptiles as the wild animals like snakes, wild boars and fishing cats may devour and destroy the eggs. Forest guards will also keep watch on the movements of mother crocodiles. The forest department has also restricted entry of locals into the forest.
Entry of tourists into crocodile infested areas in Bhitarkanika, Dangamala and Ragadapati forest blocks will be restricted, said Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) of Bhitarkanika National Park Kedar Kumar Swain on Monday.
Crocodiles mate between February and April and nesting takes place in May. A female crocodile, on an average, lays about 45 eggs.
Hatchlings emerge from the eggs after 70-80 days. The mother crocodile actively guards the nest, usually prepared with mangrove twigs, leaves and mud.
Last year, 64 salt water crocodile nesting sites were spotted at the creeks, nullahs and river system under the Bhitarkanika National Park by the forest officials. As per the census carried out in January this year, there are 1,644 salt water crocodiles in Bhitarkanika river system.