The Bhitarkanika national park has become the largest habitat of the endangered estuarine crocodiles in the country with a record number of their nesting sites spotted in it. Altogether 101 nesting sites of estuarine crocodiles were found this time by enumerators, Divisional Forest Officer, Rajnagar Mangrove (wildlife) Forest Division.
Stating that the figure was 80 last year, he said the nesting spots had registered 25 percent rise this year. A female crocodile lays 50 to 60 eggs and the hatchlings usually emerge from the nests after 70 to 80 days of incubation period.
At least 1698 crocodiles, including albino species, were counted this year along the water-bodies of Mahanadi delta region, while the figure recorded last year stood at 1682. Estuarine crocodiles are also found in West Bengals Sundarban areas having the country’s largest mangrove cover.
Besides, the mangrove wetlands in the Andaman Islands are home to these species, but those cannot match the density and population of crocodile available in the wild habitats of Bhitarkanika.