KENDRAPARA: Around 2,500 baby crocodiles were born in Bhitarkanika National Park recently. Park Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) JD Pati said this year 84 nests of saltwater crocodiles were sighted in the park and its nearby areas during the nesting season of the reptiles.
“Last year, 3,000 baby crocodiles were born and the Forest department had counted 103 estuarine crocodile nests in the park,” he said, adding the reduction in number of births this year can be attributed to inundation and tidal waves caused by cyclone Yaas in the month of May.
“The nests are usually made with mangrove twigs, leaves, mud, etc on high ground in the months of May and June so that they do not get inundated during monsoon and can get direct sunlight. But the rise in water levels due to heavy tidal waves during the cyclone damaged several nests this year,” the DFO said.
A female crocodile lays 40 to 70 eggs in a nest. Out of 500 eggs, only one crocodile grows to become an adult. As per the crocodile census report of January this year, the park is home to 1,768 saltwater crocodiles.