3 species of crocodilians
- Odisha’s Kendrapara became the only district in India to have all 3 species of crocodilians found in the country.
- Bhitarkanika National Park in the district is also the home of saltwater crocodiles (Crocodylus porosus).
- The crocodilian family consists of 27 different species that are subdivided into three families: True crocodiles, alligators and caimans and gharials.
- All three species of crocodilians in the river systems of Odisha were on the verge of extinction by the 1970s.
- Piecemeal efforts were being made from the 1960s onwards to save them.
- The gharial and saltwater crocodile conservation programme was first implemented in Odisha in early 1975 and subsequently, the mugger conservation programme was initiated.
- Since 1984, more than 600 muggers have been captive-bred and released in Similipal.
- In 1975, the Union ministry of forest and environment, in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme, had started a crocodile breeding and rearing project in Dangamala within the Bhitarkanika.
About 3 species of crocodiles:
- The mugger (or marsh) crocodile is found in lakes and rivers throughout the country. It is India's most common species. They are not as long as saltwater crocodiles. It is listed as vulnerable by IUCN.
- The saltwater crocodile is found along the eastern coast of the country (of Odisha, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu) and the Nicobar and Andaman Islands. It listed as least concern by IUCN.
- The Gharial is found in in only some rivers of India which include:
It is listed as a Critically Endangered by IUCN.