State

Bhitarkanika National Park reopens

Kendrapara: After remaining out of bounds for tourists for seven days during crocodile and migratory bird census, Bhitarkanika National Park in Kendrapara district reopened today.

A seven-day-long prohibition on entry of tourists and visitors to the wetland sites of the park had been enforced from January 3 and 10 in view of the census of the crocodiles and migratory birds, said Divisional Forest Officer, Rajnagar Mangrove (wildlife) Forest Division, Bimal Prasanna Acharya.

Meanwhile, the population of salt-water crocodiles has shown a marginal increase this year in the annual reptile census in the water bodies of Bhitarkanika National Park and its nearby areas.

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.

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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