State

Bhitarkanika crocodile, bird population on the rise

Kendrapara: The crocodile and bird population in the Bhitarkanika National Park in Kendrapara district has increased, an official said today.

Announcing the findings of an annual census, Rajnagar Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) Bimal Prasanna Acharya said the number of crocodiles is 1,698, sixteen higher than last year's 1,682.

He said the number of migrant and resident birds sighted in the park also increased by 36,669 this year.

Bhitarkanika is known for its mangrove forests and many species of migratory birds. The census was conducted between January 3 and January 10, involving forest officials, environmentalists, activists of non-Government organisations and local people and other stakeholders.

The sanctuary is also famous as the world's largest rookery of Olive Ridley sea turtles. It was designated as national park on September 16, 1998 and as a Ramsar site on August 19, 2002. Gahirmatha Beach and Marine Sanctuary lies to the east, and separates swamp region cover with canopy of mangroves from the Bay of Bengal.

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