63 crocodiles emerge via `rear and release` programme
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Last Updated: Wednesday, August 19, 2009, 12:30
Kendrapara (Orissa): Wildlife lovers are jubilant as babies of estuarine crocodiles have emerged out of the artificially hatched egg-shells in the crocodile research farm of Orissa's Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary.

As part of the 'rear and release' programme of these endangered species, eggs collected from the wild were hatched artificially, said Rajnagar mangrove (wildlife) division officials. Of the 79 eggs hatched this year, there has been emergence of 63 babies from equal number of nests, they said.

The young crocodiles released into a captive pond would be reared for more than a couple of years before being freed into the wild. The rear and release of these hatched reptiles has been going on since 1975, funded by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The conservation project undertaken in Bhitarkanika tested success while a similar UNDP-funded 'gharial' conservation project launched simultaneously in Tikarpada Sancuatary was a failure.

From hardly a hundred, the croc population has swelled considerably over the years. Now 1572 crocs inhabit along Bhitarkanika's water bodies, according to the latest census of these animals. The estuarine crocodiles are not found in any other river system in Orissa.

Besides the mangrove forest along with its fauna, these reptiles are a major tourist attraction of Bhitarkanika sanctuary.

Bureau Report

First Published: Wednesday, August 19, 2009, 12:30

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