Bhitarkanika bans tourist entry as crocodiles breed
Bhubaneswar, May 15 (IANS) A two-and-half-month ban on the entry of tourists and visitors to the Bhitarkanika National Park in Odisha began Tuesday as the crocodile breeding season was underway, officials said.
The park, in the coastal Kendrapada district, about 170 km from here, is home to about 1,650 saltwater crocodiles.
"Crocodiles tend to become violent during the breeding season. Therefore we have imposed this ban," Divisional Forest Officer Manoj Mohapatra told IANS adding that the ban would continue till July 31.
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. The mother Crocodile actively guards the nest, usually prepared with mangrove twigs, leaves and mud.
Bhitarkanika, which is 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.
It is also known for mangrove forests and its many species of migratory birds. It is widely known as the world's largest rookery of Olive Ridley sea turtles.
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