Bhitarkanika census finds an increase of 15 saltwater crocodiles from last year

  • Category
    Ecology and Environment
  • Published
    14th Jan, 2020

The population of the saltwater or estuarine crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) has increased in the water bodies of Odisha’s Bhitarkanika National Park and its nearby areas in Kendrapara district, with forest officials counting 1,757 individuals in this year’s annual reptile census on January 3, 2020.

Context

The population of the saltwater or estuarine crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) has increased in the water bodies of Odisha’s Bhitarkanika National Park and its nearby areas in Kendrapara district, with forest officials counting 1,757 individuals in this year’s annual reptile census on January 3, 2020.

About

About the census

  • The Bhitarkanika National Park, famous for the endangered saltwater crocodiles, has seen an increase of the rare species to 1,671, an annual census conducted by the Forest Department this year has found.
  • The enumerators also sighted around 12 albino crocodiles and four giant crocodiles more than 20 feet long in the water bodies of Bhitarkanika during the census.
  • In the Bhitarkanika area 1,580 and outside it 91 crocodiles were identified. In the Kanika 1,284, Rajnagar 296, Mahakalapada 69, Gahirmatha 22 were spotted.
  • The peak winter is the ideal time to carry out the census as it exposes more than 50% of mud banks.

Bhitarkanika National Park

  • Bhitarkanika National Park is located in northeast Kendrapara district in Odisha.
  • It obtained the status of a Ramsar site in 2002.
  • It is surrounded by Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary. Gahirmatha Beach and Marine Sanctuary is to the east, separating swamp region and mangroves from the Bay of Bengal.
  • The national park and wildlife sanctuary is inundated by the rivers Brahmani, Baitarani, Dhamra, Pathsala.
  • It hosts many mangrove species, and is the second largest mangrove ecosystem in India.
  • The national park is home to saltwater crocodile, Indian python, king cobra, black ibis, darters and many other species of flora and fauna.
  • This huge area of mangrove forests and wetlands is intersected by a network of creeks with Bay of Bengal on the East.

Saltwater Crocodile

  • The saltwater crocodile is a crocodilian native to saltwater habitats and brackish wetlands from India's east coast across Southeast Asia and the Sundaic region to northern Australia and Micronesia.
  • It has been listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List since 1996.
  • The saltwater crocodile is often claimed to be the largest living crocodilian.
  • Saltwater crocodiles can live more than 70 years.
  • Saltwater crocodiles are most commonly found in coastal waters or rivers where they can swim between freshwater and brackish water.
  • Saltwater crocodiles communicate using several sounds, including barking, hissing, growling and chirps.
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