1498 salt water crocodile sighted in Bhitarkanika

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Kendrapada, Jan 15 (UNI) Salt water crocodile population is on the rise inside the creeks, rivulets and water bodies of the Bhitarkanika river system, a recent census conducted by the Forest officials said.

As many as 1498 salt water (Estuarine) crocodile were sighted by the Bhitarkanika Forest personnel in the annual census of Salt water Crocodile, which concluded yesterday, Rajnagar Mangrove (Wildlife) Divisional Forest Officer(DFO) P K Behera said.

The head count drive was conducted under the supervision of wildlife personnel and crocodile researchers and experts.

The enumerators, assisted by the trained local forest staff, covered the Bhitarkanika river system besides innumerable creeks, water inlets and nullahs, the habitat of the reptiles.

The salt water crocodile being amphibious in nature could be counted directly both on land while basking on the river bed and on water surfaces while floating.

As per the census out of 1498 numbers of Salt water crocodiles, 1421 were recorded inside the Sanctuary and the rest 77 outside the sanctuary.

They included 538 hatchlings, 342 yearlings, 227 juvenile (three years-old crocodile), 139 sub-adult crocodiles and 252 adult crocodiles.

The forest officials had also sighted five giant crocodiles, which were more than 20 feet long. A giant 23 feet long salt water crocodile, enlisted last year in the Guinness Book of World record as the biggest Salt water crocodile in the world, had also been sighted among the giant crocodile during the census period.

In the last year census, 1482 numbers of Saltwater crocodiles were sighted of which 503 were hatchlings, 366 yearlings, 257 juvenile, 132 sub-adult crocodiles and 224 adult crocodiles.

UNI XC-DP SJC KD RAI2033

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