Rashmi Rekha Das

The Bhitarkanika National Park in Kendrapara district will remain closed for 11 days beginning January 4 in view of the crocodile census.

According to sources, the national park will shut its doors from January 4 to January 14 for visitors for crocodile counting. Teams deployed for the census exercise will carry out the headcount of the crocodiles in the creeks, and nullahs within the park and its surrounding areas. 

The park authorities have decided to close the park during the period for the visitors as part of their measures to ensure a smooth and human interference-free census operation.

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

A team led by expert Sudhakar Kar will conduct headcount of reptiles both day and night. 

Sudarshan Gopinath Yadav, Rajnagar divisional forest officer (DFO) said, “For crocodile census, the park will remain shut. Boat movement will be suspended for the first four days as the census can be carried out only in stagnant water. Teams have not been formed yet. A training programme will be held then only we will decide how many teams will carry out the census.”

Going by the census conducted in 2022, the national park houses 1,784 saltwater crocodiles.