A cruise through creeks into Bhitarkanika National Park reveals its dark underbelly

Prameyanews English

Published By : Prameya News Bureau | June 19, 2024 IST

Bhitarkanika National Park is the second-largest mangrove forest in India. There are 55 different types of mangroves in the sanctuary, where migrant birds from Central Asia and Europe make their camp in peril

By DN Singh

Bhitarkanika National Park is the second-largest mangrove forest in India. There are 55 different types of mangroves in the sanctuary, where migrant birds from Central Asia and Europe make their camp in peril.

Being a rich repository of innumerable floras and faunas, this park is supposedly one of the best among many such treasures in the world. Uncontrolled commercial activities have been becoming a death knell for the park.

Difficult to describe in words how excellent biodiversity this one in India located in Odisha in Kendrapara district  with a pride possession of more than 70 % of the country’s saltwater crocodile population that remain the flagship species living in the meandering tidal creeks.

The largest among the crocodiles in the park’s creek was measured 23 feet and still rules.

Threat to them is the expanding human population coupled with a drop in freshwater from  the promontory source Kharasrota river disturbingly endangering the health of this unique National Park and the floras and faunas.

Destruction of the Inner Kanika looks imminent if the government’s proposed drinking water project through Kharasrota river goes ahead that may bring an end to the ecosystem , biodiversity of the park as a whole by another 25 years from now.

If there is no balance between the saltwater coming from the ocean mouth and the freshwater of the river in the mangroves, then this system itself will collapse.

It is significant that the role of mangroves is important in battling the threat of cyclones increasing along the coast of Odisha. This was amply proved during the 1999 Super cyclone that protected the entire Rajnagar block fortified by thick clusters of mangrove forest.

Besides the saltwater crocodiles the national park is also a home to Indian python, king cobra, wild boars, chital, jackals, fishing cats and a huge population of water monitor lizards and many other species.

On the mud flats of the creek one can notice en-number of mud-keepers who also play a crucial role in the pool and food chain also.

But the way the national park is being honey-combed by human activities through artificially created shrimp cultivation by siphoning the brackish water from the adjoining creeks terribly impacts the creeks, endangering the life cycle of the inmates around.

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Bhitarkanika National Park is the second-largest mangrove forest in India. There are 55 different types of mangroves in the sanctuary, where migrant birds from Central Asia and Europe make their camp in peril
Bhitarkanika National Park is the second-largest mangrove forest in India. There are 55 different types of mangroves in the sanctuary, where migrant birds from Central Asia and Europe make their camp in peril
Bhitarkanika National Park is the second-largest mangrove forest in India. There are 55 different types of mangroves in the sanctuary, where migrant birds from Central Asia and Europe make their camp in peril
Bhitarkanika National Park is the second-largest mangrove forest in India. There are 55 different types of mangroves in the sanctuary, where migrant birds from Central Asia and Europe make their camp in peril
Bhitarkanika National Park is the second-largest mangrove forest in India. There are 55 different types of mangroves in the sanctuary, where migrant birds from Central Asia and Europe make their camp in peril
Bhitarkanika National Park is the second-largest mangrove forest in India. There are 55 different types of mangroves in the sanctuary, where migrant birds from Central Asia and Europe make their camp in peril
Bhitarkanika National Park is the second-largest mangrove forest in India. There are 55 different types of mangroves in the sanctuary, where migrant birds from Central Asia and Europe make their camp in peril
Bhitarkanika National Park is the second-largest mangrove forest in India. There are 55 different types of mangroves in the sanctuary, where migrant birds from Central Asia and Europe make their camp in peril
Bhitarkanika National Park is the second-largest mangrove forest in India. There are 55 different types of mangroves in the sanctuary, where migrant birds from Central Asia and Europe make their camp in peril
Bhitarkanika National Park is the second-largest mangrove forest in India. There are 55 different types of mangroves in the sanctuary, where migrant birds from Central Asia and Europe make their camp in peril
Bhitarkanika National Park is the second-largest mangrove forest in India. There are 55 different types of mangroves in the sanctuary, where migrant birds from Central Asia and Europe make their camp in peril
Bhitarkanika National Park is the second-largest mangrove forest in India. There are 55 different types of mangroves in the sanctuary, where migrant birds from Central Asia and Europe make their camp in peril
Bhitarkanika National Park is the second-largest mangrove forest in India. There are 55 different types of mangroves in the sanctuary, where migrant birds from Central Asia and Europe make their camp in peril
Bhitarkanika National Park is the second-largest mangrove forest in India. There are 55 different types of mangroves in the sanctuary, where migrant birds from Central Asia and Europe make their camp in peril
Bhitarkanika National Park is the second-largest mangrove forest in India. There are 55 different types of mangroves in the sanctuary, where migrant birds from Central Asia and Europe make their camp in peril
Bhitarkanika National Park is the second-largest mangrove forest in India. There are 55 different types of mangroves in the sanctuary, where migrant birds from Central Asia and Europe make their camp in peril
Bhitarkanika National Park is the second-largest mangrove forest in India. There are 55 different types of mangroves in the sanctuary, where migrant birds from Central Asia and Europe make their camp in peril
Bhitarkanika National Park is the second-largest mangrove forest in India. There are 55 different types of mangroves in the sanctuary, where migrant birds from Central Asia and Europe make their camp in peril
Bhitarkanika National Park is the second-largest mangrove forest in India. There are 55 different types of mangroves in the sanctuary, where migrant birds from Central Asia and Europe make their camp in peril
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