Kendrapara, Jan. 4: A 42-year-old man was killed by a crocodile here today, sources said. This is the latest in a series of man-crocodile conflicts in the district.
The victim has been identified as Brahmananda Behera, an agricultural labourer of Gangadharprasad village in the Rajkanika police station limits.
He was working on a farmland yesterday afternoon when a crocodile pounced on him and dragged him into a nearby rivulet linked to the Kharasrota river.
“The crocodile took away Behera from the farmland and villagers found his agriculture equipment lying nearby. We will initiate measures to pay ex gratia applicable for victims of crocodile attack after we find the body,” divisional forest officer, Rajnagar mangrove (wildlife) forest division, Manoj Kumar Mahapatra said, adding that four mechanised vessels had been pressed into service and frantic search was on to retrieve the body.
Six persons, including Behera, have fallen prey to crocodiles in recent months. Cattle were also preyed upon by the reptiles during the period. In retaliation, three reptiles were killed by villagers when they got entangled in fishing nets.
Panic has gripped the riverside villages near the sanctuary as reptiles are making their way into water bodies in and around human settlements. However, forest personnel are of the view that people are exposing themselves to such attacks by venturing into crocodile-infested water bodies.
“We have sounded an alert asking villagers to keep safe distance from water bodies that are identified as intrusion zones of the animals. But the villagers are mostly found disregarding the warning,” said a forest official.
The forest department has initiated a series of measures to save the lives of human and domestic animals from preying crocodiles. Over two dozen riverside spots were identified as danger zones because of the frequent sighting of the reptiles in these places.
“A warning has been issued to people to avoid these areas. Bathing ghats, which have become vulnerable to crocodile intrusions, have been barricaded. Security teams have also been deployed to drive away crocodiles from places of human habitation. The forest department has also announced monetary awards for information provided on crocodile intrusion. Besides, the panchayati raj institution representatives have been sensitised to curb incidents of man-crocodile conflict,” said Mahapatra.