The steady increase in sightings of salt water crocodile nests in the swampy creeks of the Bhitarkanika National Park on the Odisha coast for three consecutive seasons has elated ecologists, who have hailed this achievement as the outcome of long-term conservation efforts.The wildlife wing of the State Forest Department has come across 80 crocodile nests in their wild habitats in 2017 in Bhitarkanika, compared with 75 in 2016 and 70 in 2015.“We have spotted 80 nests in the wild. But the number of crocodile nests could be more as we could not trace all of them due to inaccessibility. Of the 80 nests, 70 are in the Kanika range. For the first time, we discovered three crocodile nests in the Gahirmatha range,” Bimal Prasanna Acharya, divisional forest officer of the Rajnagar Forest Division told The Hindu on Tuesday.Bhitarkanika is said to house 70% of India’s estuarine or salt water crocodiles, conservation of which was started over four decades ago in 1975.Back then, when the Government of India and the United Nations Development Programme focussed on saving crocodiles in Bhitarkanika, there were hardly three or four nests sighted in the area and the population of salt water crocodiles was estimated to be 95, including 34 adults. Now, the numbers have grown to 1,682.Long-term effortSince 1977, salt water crocodile eggs have been collected and young crocodiles have been released in the creeks and the estuaries of Bhitarkanika. A decade ago, this practice was discontinued, allowing crocodiles to grow in their natural habitats.“More than 3,000 crocodiles have so far been released into the waters of the Bhitarkanika. We have been able to reverse the trend of a declining crocodile population and make the area a safer habitat for the reptile,” said Sudhakar Kar, a former scientist with the Odisha Forest Department and an expert on crocodiles with the International Union for Conservation of Nature.The Bhitarkanika National Park is a place where the rivers Brahmani, Baitarni, Dhamra and Pathsala meet the Bay of Bengal. The mangrove wetland and a large number muddy creeks provide perfect conditions for estuarine crocodiles to nest. Moreover, the nesting sites of crocodiles are located at places where tidal waves cannot wash away the eggs.“Unlike other crocodiles, estuarine crocodiles lay eggs by creating a mound made of leaves of a particular mangrove species, which are plentifully available in Bhitarkanika. Other crocodile species dig the soil for laying eggs,” said Dr. Kar.Crocodiles start laying eggs by mid-May, with an incubation period of 75 days. The female crocodile guards the nest devotedly for three months. During this period, she tends to attack anything that approaches the nest. Hatchlings come out in the month of August. An average of 25-30 eggs are found in a nest and 30% of hatchlings may finally survive.Dr. Kar said there are large habitats for salt water crocodiles in the Sundarbans in West Bengal, and in the large mangrove wetlands of the Andaman Islands, but they cannot match the density and population of crocodiles in the wild habitats of Bhitarkanika.The national park is also home to the only white-coloured captive crocodile named Gori. Many albino crocodile species can be found in the Bhitarkanika’s waters. The park also houses the world’s largest salt water crocodile, measuring about 23 feet — this was recorded in 2006 in the Guinness World Records.Dr. Kar said, “Salt water crocodiles devour predatory fishes. Hence, more fish thrive with the presence of crocodiles in the water.” He added, “The existence of salt water crocodiles depends on dense wet mangrove forests and the steady discharge of fresh water into the sea. Odisha has the distinction of having all three Indian species of crocodiles. ”
Senior Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader and MP Abhishek Banerjee on Wednesday set a target of winning 250 plus seats in the next Legislative Assembly poll. Abhishek, who heads the youth wing of the TMC and is nephew of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, said the BJP’s thinking of winning Bengal has no basis.“In the next assembly poll in 2021, we should fight to win 250 plus seats in the state. The BJP thinks it can win Bengal. But they are wrong. If our party supremo Mamata Banerjee permits, we would score 10 goals against BJP everyday and they won’t stand a chance against us,” Mr. Abhishek said while addressing TMC’s students wing-Trinamool Chatra Parishad- foundation day rally here. The total strength of the West Bengal assembly is 294. They (BJP) has emptied the coffers of central government and RBI and are lecturing others on financial issues, he said. While referring to Reserve Bank of India (RBI)’s decision to give Rs 1.76 lakh crore to the Centre, Abhishek said the reserve money of the central bank has also been exhausted due to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government. BJP’s West Bengal unit president Dilip Ghosh, while reacting to Abhishek’s claim, said he is living in fool’s paradise.“He is living in fool’s paradise if he thinks that TMC will win 250 seats. The TMC would find it tough to get even 30 seats and acquire main opposition party status,” Ghosh said. The BJP, in the general election this year, bagged 18 of the 42 seats in the state, four less than the ruling TMC.The TMC’s tally came down from 34 in 2014 to 22 seats. In the last few years, the saffron party has made deep inroads in Bengal and emerged as the main challenger to the ruling TMC by pushing the Congress and the Left Front to distant third and fourth positions respectively. It’s leaders are now asserting that their next target was to unseat Mamata Banerjee in the 2021 assembly elections.
The second half began with a City onslaught but Lloris’s diving save kept out Sterling’s low shot and one-handed save palmed an effort from De Bruyne around a post.The first flickers of a Spurs threat in the second half came when Llorente dived in with a header but it lacked power and was blocked by goalkeeper Ederson.And the momentum swung again when City scored its fourth in the 59th.Ilkay Gundogan’s crossfield pass landed at the feet of De Bruyne, who drove forward before slipping the ball through to Agüero who beat Lloris at his near post with a powerful shot.For the first time on the night, City was in front on aggregate and on course for its second Champions League semifinal.But the hosts couldn’t close the game out.When Trippier whipped in a corner, Llorente rose and turned the ball into the net with his hip.The celebrations were put on hold when the referee went to the touchline to check if the ball came off Llorente’s arm, but the goal stood.As the Premier League champions chased the goal that would sent them through, Aguero had a header saved by Lloris and an effort from Gundogan was scooped over.When Sterling did find the net again, VAR intervened to leave the home fans crushed. That is a rare feeling at the Etihad Stadium, 11 years into the club’s influx of cash from Abu Dhabi. Guardiola’s side was knocked out of a competition for the first time this season after a title in the League Cup and advancement to the FA Cup final while challenging Liverpool for the league title.In the Premier League, Tottenham is far from competing what would be its first English title since 1961. Coping without any new signings this season, the team is fighting for a top four finish and a Champions League places.The north London club will qualify anyway if it wins European football’s top prize for the first time.Before then, City and Tottenham have to do it all again — with an instant domestic reunion on Saturday.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting Tottenham advanced thanks to Fernando Llorente’s hip, which nudged the ball into the net in the 73rd minute for a goal that survived a VAR review for possible handball. It was the last goal of a night that will be long remembered by clubs that lived in the shadows of larger rivals in their own cities.“That is why we love football, we feel the passion,” Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino said.” We enjoy watching football, anything can happen.“Today we showed our great character, great personality. To score three goals against Manchester City is not easy.”Not when top-scorer Harry Kane was out through injury. Not when the midfield options were so depleted that an injury to Moussa Sissoko before halftime before Pochettino to bring on out-of-favor center forward Llorente.And Tottenham will play the first leg against Ajax without Son Heung-min — Kane’s understudy who scored the valuable first-leg goal last week. Son scored Tottenham’s first two goals at Etihad Stadium, then picked up a booking for a foul on Kevin De Bruyne that earned him a one-game suspension for yellow card accumulation.The South Korean showed just how influential he is for Tottenham in a start unlike anything seen before in the Champions League.Four goals in the opening 11 minutes. The fifth in the 21st minute, after five shots on target.“The first 10 minutes of this game and the last five was fairytale stuff,” Eriksen said.Sterling put City ahead in just the fourth minute. Son then netted twice to put City in a position where it had to score three more goals to advance.City did just that to take a 4-2 lead, only for Llorente — and the VAR — to have the last say. Panelo: Duterte ‘angry’ with SEA Games hosting hassles SEA Games hosting troubles anger Duterte Rafael Nadal steamrolls to opening Monte Carlo win Hontiveros presses for security audit of national power grid Cayetano: Senate, Drilon to be blamed for SEA Games mess Ethel Booba twits Mocha over 2 toilets in one cubicle at SEA Games venue When Christian Eriksen’s misplaced back-pass deflected off Bernardo Silva into the path of Sergio Agüero, the City striker was offside before setting up Sterling in the penalty area.“It’s cruel,” Guardiola said.There would be no eighth goal on this breathtaking night of epic drama. Tottenham advanced on away goals following Wednesday’s 4-3 loss that left the teams tied 4-4 on aggregate.City’s quadruple dreams were extinguished. Guardiola, a Champions League-winning coach with Lionel Messi’s Barcelona in 2009 and 2011, failed to reach the semifinals for the sixth straight time, his third with City after three misses with Bayern Munich.Instead, Tottenham reached to its first European Cup semifinal in 57 years and will play Ajax. Liverpool meets Barcelona following a 6-1 aggregate win over Porto, giving England multiple clubs in the semifinals for the first time since Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea in 2009.ADVERTISEMENT DA eyes importing ‘galunggong’ anew View comments Not for long.As City manager Pep Guardiola was leaping on the touchline, Turkish referee Cüneyt Çakir was receiving updates in his ear from the video assistant referee checking replays.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSPalace wants Cayetano’s PHISGOC Foundation probed over corruption chargesSPORTSSingapore latest to raise issue on SEA Games food, logisticsThe stadium soon became hushed until the big screen flashed: “No goal. VAR. Offside.”Guardiola threw his head in his hands, but there was nothing to argue about. LATEST STORIES Philippine Arena Interchange inaugurated Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. “It was a very tough game, a very crazy game,” Son said. “Sometimes you are annoyed with VAR but today it is a case of, ‘Thank you and good decision.’”Sterling got the action started when he received the ball from De Bruyne and evaded Kieran Trippier before bending the ball into the corner past Hugo Lloris.Within three minutes, Tottenham regained its aggregate advantage after Aymeric Laporte’s clearance from Lucas Moura’s through ball set up Son to level on the night.Laporte was again at fault when he gave the ball away in the 10th on the halfway line, setting Moura free to set up Son to put Tottenham 2-1 up.Not for long. Barely a minute.Silva was left in space on the right flank to collect the ball and poke it through Danny Rose’s legs and into the net in the 21st.“I looked at Pep,” Pochettino recalled, “and we said, ‘Unbelievable!’”After that dizzying spell, there was a full 10 minutes before the ball ended up in the net again.A back-heel from Silva set up De Bruyne, who crossed for Sterling to slide in at the back post.City 3, Tottenham 2. Five goals in 21 minutes, but with Tottenham still going through thanks to Son’s first-leg goal. MOST READ PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games PLAY LIST 02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss Tottenham Hotspur forward Fernando Llorente celebrates his side’s third goal during the Champions League quarterfinal, second leg, soccer match between Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, England, Wednesday, April 17, 2019. (AP Photo/Jon Super)MANCHESTER, England— More than two minutes into stoppage time, Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling slid across the field and puffed his chest to the crowd, roaring in elation. Tottenham players collapsed to the turf, some flat on their backs, forlorn and heartbroken.From the brink of Champions League elimination, Manchester City was celebrating its passage to the semifinals.ADVERTISEMENT
Tourism and Entertainment Minister, Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeill, is slated to announce details of several major projects, being earmarked for implementation within the industry, when he makes his contribution to the 2013/14 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on June 12.Speaking at the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association’s 52nd Annual General Meeting (AGM) at the Sunset Jamaica Grande Hotel, in Ocho Rios, St. Ann, on Saturday, June 1, Dr. McNeill pointed out that the projects are expected to be “transformational”, while pointing out that the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) will have a pivotal role in implementing these.“The Tourism Enhancement Fund must be a transformational body. I want to see big projects that make a difference to Jamaica,” he stated, while adding that the TEF’s input will also be outlined during his sectoral presentation.The Minister disclosed, however, that consultations have commenced with stakeholders in Ocho Rios regarding the projects to be undertaken in that area. He pointed out that these talks have gained resonance among the parties with whom the Ministry has been dialoguing.Pointing out that projections for the 2013 summer and winter tourist seasons are “looking good”, Dr. McNeill appealed for continued collaboration among all sector stakeholders, “in the interest of the industry”.“I think our partnership is a really strong and good partnership; and it is something we can use as an example for the entire country, when we are all working together to develop Jamaica, land we love,” he stated.The Minister, however, lamented continuous reports being received about the extent of visitor harassment occurring, particularly in the resort areas, which, he asserted, must be decisively addressed.In this regard, he informed that the Ministry has initiated discussions with several key stakeholders, inclusive of the security forces and the judiciary, to institute measures that will curtail such undesirable behavior.“Over the years we have discussed the issue of harassment in Jamaica, and I have taken the initiative now to address it seriously. We have been having discussions, and we are going to be looking at the issues of anti-harassment. Right now, we are doing some work to this end in Ocho Rios, because it is important,” he disclosed.Dr. McNeill contended that if this scourge is rooted out, Jamaica’s tourism industry will be transformed significantly, resulting in increased visitor arrivals, yielding dividends redounding to the country’s long-term benefitContact: Bryan Miller