After remaining out of bounds for tourists
for three months, Bhitarkanika National Park reopened on Tuesday for nature’s
lovers who long for savouring the warmth of congenial wetland spots.
It reopened today In view of breeding
season of estuarine crocodiles, three-month-long prohibition on entry of
tourists and visitors to the wetland sites of the park had been clamped from 1
May, Divisional Forest Officer, Rajnagar Mangrove (wildlife) Forest
Division,Bimal Prasanna Acharya.
The ban on tourists’ entry had to be
enforced as human interference disturbs the breeding animals. The reptiles
often turn violent and attack intruders during this period. So the objective is
to ensure the safety of humans and provide congenial environs to the breeding
crocodiles, said the forest official.
The booking of tourists’ cottages has
begun. We were ready to play host to domestic and international tourists after
two-month break. We receive about 50,000 tourists in a year. Our emphasis is on
to ensure safe and comfortable sojourn of visitors who throng here in large
numbers to savour warmth of eco-system and unique environs of its wetlands. It
has been made mandatory for the visitors to submit proof of identity to seek
entry permit into the national park, said officials.
Boat journey along the mangrove-covered
water bodies is a major attraction for tourists. On any given day, 350 to 400
tourists make voyage on water bodies by boats. There would be no compromise on
the safety aspect. The department is intent of ensuring the safety of the
travelers. The private boats which are devoid of life jackets and other
safety gadgets for tourists are barred from operating. The boats and vessels
that are owned by the department are all endowed with safety equipment.
Directions have been issued to the
operators to abide by the safety guidelines. Those found not complying with the
order would be barred from operating in the water-bodies within the national
145 square kilo metre stretch Bhitarkanika
National Park with its vast expanse of mangrove cover and wetland spots is an
ideal eco-tourism destination for camping, trekking and picnics.
Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary is famous
for its saltwater crocodiles, resident and migrant avian species and huge
varieties of mangrove species. Besides millions of endangered olive ridley sea
turtles turn up at Gahirmatha beach every year for mass-nesting. As many as
1,682 crocodiles were enumerated in the national park this year.