Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Kendrapara, Aug 1:
After remaining closed to visitors for the last two months, the Bhitarkanina National Park in Odisha’s Kendrapada district opened this morning.
Talking to reporters here, Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) of Rajnagar Wildlife Division, Kedar Kumar Swain said that the park had remained closed for three months from May1 to July 31 on account of the breeding season of saltwater crocodiles.
With the opening of the park, tourists from India and abroad would be allowed to enter into the park to witness the rich flora and fauna of the second largest mangrove forest in the country.
Although the December-February period is the peak tourist season, many visitors come to see birds that flock in the park around this time of the year. The park houses about 30,000 local birds, including Openbill Storks and varieties of herons, he said.
The park, located in coastal Kendrapara district, 170 km from here, was closed from May 1 as crocodiles tend to become violent during the breeding and nesting season. It is home to about 1,644 crocodiles.
Crocodiles mate between February and April and nesting takes place in May. A female crocodile, on an average, lays about 45 eggs.
Hatchlings emerge from the eggs after 70-80 days. A mother crocodile zealously guards her nest, usually prepared with mangrove twigs, leaves and mud.
Bhitarkanika, also a wild life sanctuary, found a mention in the Guinness World Records in 2006 with a 23-foot saltwater crocodile listed as the largest in the world.
(with inputs from IANS)