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Odishatv Bureau

Berhampur: Population of 'mugger', a crocodile species, witnessed marginal rise this year at Ghodahada irrigation reservoir near Digapahandi in Ganjam district of Odisha.

The enumerators spotted 44 marsh crocodiles in the reservoir spread over 4 sq km, while 11 were sighted in nearby water bodies during the three-day census by Berhampur Forest Division from January 8 to 10, a forest official said today.

Altogether, 49 crocodiles were spotted last year.

"The entire reservoir and the adjoining water bodies were divided into 10 segments and 40 people engaged for the headcount through direct sighting method," said Divisional Forest Officer, Berhampur A K Behera.

Mugger is one of the three crocodile species found in the state. The other two species are gharial and salt-water crocodile or estuarine crocodile.

"Ghodahada reservoir is considered as one of the potential habitats for muggers after Satakosia and Similipal," Chief Wildlife Warden, S S Srivastava said, adding plans are afoot to develop Ghodahada into an eco-tourism spot.

"The reservoir is in possession of the water resources department. We will discuss the plan with the department officials," Srivastava added.

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