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Saltie census 2023

  • Category
    Ecology and Environment
  • Published
    20th Jan, 2023

Context:

According to the annual reptile census, the population of saltwater crocodiles in the water bodies of Bhitarkanika National Park and its nearby areas in Odisha’s Kendrapara district has marginally increased in 2023.

About the Census:

  • The total count of crocodiles remained at 1,793.
  • These included 20 whitish individuals. Last year, officials had sighted 1,784 reptiles.
  • The peak winter, exposure of more than 50 per centof mud banks and the lunar cycle are suitable periods for counting the reptiles.

The crocodile species found in India:

  • India is home to three crocodile species – Gharial, Mugger, and Saltwater
  • Usually spotted on banks of the aquatic systems, crocodiles are cold-blooded animals that spend a large part of their day basking under the sun.
  • Threats:
  • Crocodiles too are facing threats due to climate change, habitat degradation, irreversible development activities, and illegal poaching. 
  • In order to conserve crocodiles in the wild, the Government of India initiated the Crocodile Conservation Project in 1975to rebuild the crocodilian population.
  • Numerous breeding centres have been established along their native habitat that rear hatchlings and reintroduce them upon maturity.
  • Other action interventions, including building of artificial nesting and basking sites, are also being carried out.

The saltwater crocodile:

  • It is also the largest reptile in the world. The species inhabits a few coastal regions in India including Odisha, West Bengal, and the Indian Islands.
  • A long and powerful tail, webbed digits, and powerful jaws make the animal an excellent predator in aquatic habitats.
  • Protection status:
  • It has been listed as Least Concernon the IUCN Red List since 1996.

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