Bhubaneswar, Jun 13 (UNI) The Bhitarkanika park on the Orissa coast has acheived a rare distinction of housing world's largest salt water crocodile measuring about 23-foot long.
Orissa Chief Wildlife Warden S C Mohanty confirmed that the creeks inside the park are home to some of the world's largest salt water crocodiles.
What has delighted the wildlife lovers and wildlife officials in the state that the largest crocodile of Bhitarkanika has again found a place in the 2006 edition of the Guinness Book of World Record.
During 1994 also the Guinness Book of World Record had maintained that the Bhitarkanika has the largest living crocodile in the world.
The latest census carried out by the wildlife division had indicated that the Bhitarkanika sanctuary has a total strength of 1462 crocodiles which included 203 adults.
According to crocodile experts and senior Resercah officer in the Wildlife Division Sudhakar Kar nearly eight salt water crocodiles in Bhitarkanika have the length of 16 to 18 feet while five were reported having a length of 18 to 20 feet and three crocodiles were measured above 20 feet.
Bhitarkanika has also emerged as the ideal habitat for the salt water crocodile in the country and also the largest concentration.
The Sundarbans sanctuary though has a good mangrove forest yet it housed a very small population of the salt water crocodile. So also the case of Andaman and Nicobar island.
Dr Kar said the Dangmal Interpretation Centre located inside the Bhitarkanika park has preserved the full skeleton of a 19 feet 8 inch long crocodile which was found dead last year.
The crocodile was iniitially cremated but later the widlife officials retrieved the skeleton and decided to preserve it to make the people aware that the Parkm is home some of the largest salt water crocodile of the world.
Wildlife experts however, argued that the largest crocodile so far found in the Bhitarkanika was almost 25-foot long which could be traced from the skull preserved by the Kanika Royal family.
The Crocodile, probably was shot dead near Dhamara during 1926 and later its skull was preserved by the then Kanika King. The Crocodile experts said as per the parameter the crocodile would be about 25 feet since the size of the skull was measured one seventh of the total length of the body.
The Bombay Natural History Society(BHNS) and the Orissa Wildlife Division have approached the kanika Royal family to hand over the skull of the largest crocodile for preservation but in vain. The Royal family in possession of the skull of the largest crocodile in the worls, refused to part it.
Wildlife experts said beside the largest living crocodile, the Bhitarkanika has also another disinction of having rare and endangered white crocodiles numbering about ten in the wild. This apart the Dangmal Crocodile Research centre has another rare whote crocodile named ''Gori'' in captivity for over last two decades.
UNI DP PC KLC1402