• The Odisha government is setting up a world-class interpretation centre at Dangamal near Bhitarkanika Park to showcase its efforts in protecting crocodiles and preserving its rich mangrove diversity.
• The project, which has been approved under the Integrated Coastal Zone Management Project, will be taken up at an estimated cost of Rs 3 crore.
• The plan is to develop the centre both as a tourist attraction and a place for students to learn about the environment. Experts are being consulted for adding value to the project.
• Bhitarkanika, one of the State’s finest biodiversity hotspots, receives close to one lakh visitors per year. The tourist inflow has seen an increase lately.
• The park is famous for its green mangroves, migratory birds, turtles, entuarine crocodiles and countless creeks. It is said to house 70% of the country’s estuarine or saltwater crocodiles, conservation of which was started way back in 1975.
• In 1999 when coastal Odisha battered by Super Cyclone, the rich mangrove forests had then acted as a bio-shield. There was very little impact of the cyclone in the mangrove-forested regions.
• In fact, Kalibhanjdia Island spread over 8.5 square km, a place in Bhitarkanika, has attracted the attention of foreign scientists as it possesses 70% of the total mangrove species of the world.