Crocodile population rises in Bhitarkanika

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Bhubaneswar: The crocodile population in Odisha’s Bhitarkanika National Park has gone up to 1,665, the annual census revealed Thursday.

The number is 21 more than last year’s 1,644.

The crocodiles sighted in the park’s water bodies during the census include 511 hatchlings, 380 yearlings, 317 juveniles, 149 sub-adults, 305 adults and three giant crocodiles measuring more than 20 feet, a senior park official told IANS.

The park, also a wildlife sanctuary, in Kendrapada district was closed for public Jan 1-12 for the annual census.

The counting of the crocodiles was conducted by 25 teams involving forest officials, environmentalists, NGOs and local residents.

Bhitarkanika, about 170 km from here, found a mention in the Guinness World Records in 2006 for a 23-foot saltwater crocodile listed as the largest in the world.

It is also known for mangrove forests and many species of migratory birds.

Besides, the sanctuary is widely known as the world’s largest rookery of Olive Ridley sea turtles.

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