The population of albino crocodiles in Odisha’s Bhitarkanika National Park has registered an astonishing rise this year. Forest officials have sighted 12 albino crocodiles during the seven-day long crocodile census from January 3 to 10.
Apart from Gori, the 43-year-old albino crocodile which resides in a pen in Bhitarkanika, the Forest officials have sighted around 12 such albino reptiles of which seven are more than 18 feet in length. Three giant crocodiles, which are more than 20 feet long, have also been sighted in the water bodies of the park, said Dr Sudhakar Kar, a former crocodile research officer of Forest and Wildlife department of the State who led the 20-member team for the census.
The population of saltwater crocodiles in Bhitarkanika and its nearby areas has registered a marginal rise this year with the annual reptile census putting the head count at 1698. Last year, as many as 1682 saltwater crocodiles were sighted in the park.
“During the crocodile census, we sighted 610 hatchlings, 338 yearlings, 267 juveniles, 172 sub-adults and 311 adult reptiles,” informed Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) of Bhitarkanika National Park Bimal Prasanna Acharya.
Last year, the Forest officials had found 608 hatchlings, 334 yearlings, 266 juveniles, 172 sub-adults and 302 adults reptiles while in 2016, the count was 597 hatchlings, 342 yearlings, 269 juveniles, 164 sub-adults and 299 adult crocodiles, Acharya said.