- The steady increase in sightings of salt water crocodile nests in the swampy creeks of the Bhitarkanika National Park on the Odisha coast for three consecutive seasons has elated ecologists, who have hailed this achievement as the outcome of long-term conservation efforts. Bhitarkanika is said to house 70% of India’s estuarine or salt water crocodiles, conservation of which was started over four decades ago in 1975.
- The Bhitarkanika National Park is a place where the rivers Brahmani, Baitarni, Dhamra and Pathsala meet the Bay of Bengal. The mangrove wetland and a large number muddy creeks provide perfect conditions for estuarine crocodiles to nest. Moreover, the nesting sites of crocodiles are located at places where tidal waves cannot wash away the eggs.
- Unlike other crocodiles, estuarine crocodiles lay eggs by creating a mound made of leaves of a particular mangrove species, which are plentifully available in Bhitarkanika. Other crocodile species dig the soil for laying eggs.
- Large habitats for salt water crocodiles in the Sundarbans in West Bengal, and in the large mangrove wetlands of the Andaman Islands, but they cannot match the density and population of crocodiles in the wild habitats of Bhitarkanika.
- The national park is also home to the only white-coloured captive crocodile named Gori. Many albino crocodile species can be found in the Bhitarkanika’s waters. The park also houses the world’s largest salt water crocodile, measuring about 23 feet — this was recorded in 2006 in the Guinness World Records.
- Salt water crocodiles devour predatory fishes. Hence, more fish thrive with the presence of crocodiles in the water.
- Odisha has the distinction of having all three Indian species of crocodiles.