Kendrapara: Newly hatched baby crocodiles have come out of eggshells to move into water-bodies in and around Bhitarkanika National Park in Odisha, marking the culmination of annual breeding and nesting of these endangered reptile species.
A record number of 80 nesting sites of estuarine crocodiles were spotted in the national park in Kendrapara district this year, officials said. The sight of hatchlings spawning out of their eggs and creeking before hopping into the water bodies was a visual treat for nature lovers.
The emergence process of hatchlings began from Wednesday and would continue for the next six to seven days, said Forest Ranger Akshaya Kumar Nayak. A group of ground-level staff engaged for keeping watch and vigil on the nests. The hatchlings usually emerge from their eggs after 70 to 80 days of incubation period, he said. However, hardly one in hundred baby crocs survive to become adult as their mortality rate is very high, he said.
According to reports, the number of salt water crocodiles, the species which is not found in any other river of the state, the latest census reported 1,682 crocs in Bhitarkanika wildlife sanctuary.