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Ananya Padhihary

Bhitarkanika National Park in Kendrapara distirict will remain out of bounds for 10 days from January 2 to 11 for nature lovers for the annual headcount exercise of estuarine crocodiles.

The headcount of the crocodiles will be carried out by the forest department officials under the supervision of crocodile expert Dr. Sudhakar Kar, during both day and night times.

Teams deployed for the census exercise will count the crocodiles in the creeks ‘nullahs’, within the park and its nearby areas. 

To ensure the smooth and human interference-free census operation, the national park will remain close during the period for the visitors.

Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) of Rajnagar Mangrove (forest) Jagyadutta Pati said, “Every year we carry out the census of salt water crocodiles between December and January. This year too, tourists will be barred from entering the national park between January 2 and 11 to avoid any human activity distractions to the wildlife.”

He further added, “During this period, the booking of night stays in Bhitarkanika Nature Camps through Ecotour Odisha website will also remain closed.”

As per the findings of the last year’s headcount of the reptiles, the number of crocodiles in the National Park remains 1,768.

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