Berhampur: In a good news for wildlife lovers, the population of ‘mugger’ crocodile in Ghodahada reservoir and 10 adjoining ponds in Ganjam district has increased.
After 3-day mugger crocodile census from January 9 to 11, ACF (Administration) Berhampur Ashok Kumar Behera said the number of the endangered species of crocodile has increased from 65 last year to 75 this year.
Of this year’s population, 53 were sighted in Ghodahada reservoir and 19 in adjoining ponds. The census was conducted by the direct sight method by 49 persons from 8 am to 2 pm.
The whole reservoir had been divided into 10 segments and another 10 segments in nearby ponds. Representatives from office of the PCCF (Wildlife) and Chief Wildlife Warden Odisha Bhubaneswar participated in this census under the supervision of ACF and Data Manager Subrat Kumar Behera.
‘Mugger’ is one of the three crocodile species found in the state. The other species are ‘gharial’ mainly found in Satkosia and ‘Baula’ in Bhitarkanika. Ghodahada reservoir is considered as one of the potential habitats for the ‘muggers’ in the state, sources said.
Though the length of a full grown ‘mugger’ crocodile is 8 feet, small crocodiles of 2 feet prefer to migrate to adjoining ponds. They migrate to the ponds because their number has increased considerably in the dam. They generally migrate to the nearby ponds when the water overflows during the rainy season, said the Forest officials.
The focus of the census was the habitat improvement of muggers with involvement of local fishermen. ‘Mugger’ is not aggressive and never harms the fishermen of the adjoining seven villagers. The fishermen catch around 150 kg of fish from the reservoir everyday without any fear. It is for this reason that the villagers protect and nourish these crocodiles.