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Ghodahada reservoir, Odisha
Forty-five crocodiles or muggers were spotted during the forest department's annual enumeration at the Ghodahada reservoir and its adjoining ponds in Ganjam district of Odisha.
The presence of crocodiles in this irrigation reservoir spread over five square kilometres has been attributed to humans.
During the British era, a zamindar family had kept a few crocodiles in a large tank adjacent to the Ujjaleswar temple. Forest officials say some crocodiles from the temple tank escaped into the reservoir during floods.
According to the annual crocodile census held on January 8, 28 muggers have have been sighted in the Ghodahada reservoir while 17 were found in the seven ponds near it. The Ujjaleswar temple tank has four.
But forest officials feel their real numbers might be higher. In the 2017 census, 55 muggers were sighted in the region and 39 of them were found within the reservoir.
To get an accurate figure of the crocodiles, the forest department has decided to conduct another enumeration at the end of winter.
Crocodiles of the reservoir or those in the ponds have not harmed any of the villagers, who are mostly fishermen, to date. Fishermen of the area have formed a Maa Ramchandi Crocodile Protection Committee, which is involved in the conservation of the reptiles in the reservoir and the ponds.