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Bhitarkanika Thrown Open for Tourists

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 park.  

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.

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