Endangered Crocs at Bhitarkanika National Park, Odisha
Bhitarkanika National Park, located in Odisha’s Kendrapara District, is the second largest mangrove ecosystem in India. The park encompasses an area of 672 sq km of the Bhitarkanika Mangroves, a mangrove swamp which lies in the river delta of the Brahmani, Baitarani, and Dhamra rivers. You can get your fill of crocodiles here; including rare varieties.
The national park is surrounded by the Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary, which is home to the endangered saltwater crocodile, white crocodile, Indian python, black ibis, wild pigs, rhesus monkeys, chitals, darters, cobra, water monitor lizard. Olive ridley sea-turtles nest on Gahirmatha and other nearby beaches. Bhitarkanika has one of the largest populations of endangered saltwater crocodile in India and is globally unique in that 10 percent of the adults exceed 6 m length. Nearly 700 saltwater crocodiles inhabit the rivers and creeks. The park also has a rich variety of birds; 215 species at last count, including eight varieties of kingfishers, Asian Open Bill, Cormorants, Darters, Black Ibis and Egrets.
The national park was created in September 1998 from the core area of the Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary, which was created in 1975.