Crocodile Census - Crocodile Conservation Programs in India

Crocodile Census in India - Background Context

  • Recent Crocodile Census by the State of Odisha, India.
The mugger crocodile (Crocodylus palustris), also called marsh crocodile, broad-snouted crocodile and mugger is a crocodilian native to freshwater habitats from southern Iran and Pakistan to the Indian subcontinent and Sri Lanka.
Photo by Avinash Uppuluri / Unsplash

Current Findings of the Census

  • The state of Odisha has seen growth in the population of Estuarine Crocodile (i.e. saltwater crocodile), in nearby water bodies, Bhitarkanika National Park, and the surrounding area of Kendrapara district.
  • The number recorded was 1742 crocodiles in current years in pursuance of updating the Annual reptile census.
  • The Govt. measures deployed in the region gave positive results in the context of the “Crocodile Census”
A marsh crocodile enjoying the mild drizzle.  They are one of the three species of crocodilians found in India.
Photo by Saketh Upadhya / Unsplash

Type of Crocodile found in the Region.

Saltwater Crocodile

Indian Saltwater Crocodile is the largest of all the Living Reptiles found in India. According to IUCN, it is listed as Least Concern. These are found uniformly throughout India along the east coast region.

So one day i had been to Crocodile park and i happened to see this one Croc laying in the sun I could see the sun reflecting  his rough skin so i decided to take a picture and for my surprise the croc was staring right at the lens.
Photo by Bharathi Kannan / Unsplash

Mugger (Marsh Crocodile)

This particular type is freshwater specie, found in lakes, rivers, and marshlands (marsh crocodile) found uniformly throughout the Indian subcontinent. The IUCN listed this type as Vulnerable which is a bit of concern, and conservation programs need to be undertaken ASAP.

Florida alligator
Photo by Gary Yost / Unsplash

Gharial

Gharial/Gharyal or Ghariyyaal is unique specie found in the Indian subcontinent. With a pointy nose elongated pipe-like mouth-jaw, they are known as fish-eating specie. They are considered harmless to human beings. They are considered very native to the Indian subcontinent. Unfortunately, their numbers are not doing so well, and according to IUCN, they are listed as Critically Endangered.

There are efforts taken to increase their population in the region and numbers taking shape in rivers of the National Sanctuary of Chambal, Son River Sanctuary, Katarniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary. They are also found in the rainforest of the Mahanadi river, particularly in Satkosia Gorge Sanctuary, State of Odisha.

Green crocodile macro
Photo by Tomáš Lištiak / Unsplash

Crocodile conservation programs in India

The Crocodile Conservation Programme was first deployed in the state of Odisha in the year 1975. In the initial phase, the conservation program was launched for Gharial and Saltwater, and eventually, the conservation program for Muggar was also launched.

The financial assistance for the conservation of this specie of Indian Crocodiles and technical expertise, guidance, and support is provided by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP)/FAO channel through the Government of India.

Project/Scheme and Initiatives for Crocodile Conservation in India

  1. "Baula" at DANGAMAL: The term “BAULA” is an Oriya word, used to identify Saltwater Crocodile. The place DANGAMAL is located in Bhitarkanika Sanctuary.
  2. Project Mugger at RAMATIRTHA

The Ramatirtha Center of Mayurbhanj, located in the state of Odisha is a mythological tourist place and rearing center for crocodiles (Mugger) which comes under, the Govt of Odisha Tourism. The other efforts are Project Gharial at Tikarpada, and Crocodile breeding, at Nandankanan.