Four giant crocs of over 20 feet in Bhitarkanika

Kendrapara: Four giant crocodiles, all males measuring above 20 feet in length, have been spotted during the latest census at Bhitarkanika National Park in Kendrapara district.

Among them was a 21 foot-long crocodile that figured in the Guinness of Book of Records as the worlds largest estuarine crocodile in the Mahisnsadiha inlet of the Bhitarkanika river system. There were also seven measuring 18 to 20 feet.

Enumerators also spotted five albinos in the sub-adult category measuring above 6 feet.

Among them was Gori a 36-year-old female white crocodile at the Dangamal Crocodile Research Center. The reptile is one of the treasured possessions of the sanctuary.

According to the census, the number of crocodiles have grown by just three at 1649 from 1646 in the preceding year.

Wildlife experts said that foggy and overcast conditions hindered foolproof enumeration of the crocodiles and the figure might have been on the higher side had the weather been clear.

"Sighting of baby and young crocs was affected due to fog. That might have led to marginal increase in the census figure. But it seems the population of estuarine crocodiles has stabilised in Bhitarkanika. Marginal rise in number is not a cause for worry," Divisional Forest Officer, Rajnagar Mangrove (wildlife) Forest Division Manoj Kumar Mahapatra, said.