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