Kendrapara: To begin the annual census of estuarine or saltwater crocodiles at Bhitarkanika National Park in Kendrapara district, the park will be kept out of bounds for tourists from December 26.
According to sources, forest officials, crocodile experts, and researchers, will carry out the census from December 26 to January 4 following which the Wildlife Sanctuary will remain closed for tourists.
The objective is to keep the place free from human interference during the headcount and so the park has been closed for visitors, a forest official said.
Bhitarkanika is said to house 70 per cent of India’s estuarine or saltwater crocodiles, conservation of which was started way back in 1975.
According to Bhitarakanika National Park authorities, mammals found in the place are leopard, wild boar, jungle cat, fishing cat, hyena, sambar, striped palm squirrel, gangetic dolphin while reptiles found comprise turtles including Olive Ridley sea turtle, crocodile, lizard, water monitors, python, and king cobra.
Besides, Bhitarakanika is one of the richest storehouses of mangrove genes. Researchers have come across 11 of the 70 mangrove species, which were facing the threat of extinction in the world, in Bhitarakanika.