Kendrapara, Dec 26 (LocalWire): Forest officials today began a nine-day-long crocodile census in Bhitarkanika National Park and its nearby areas.
‘We will enumerate crocodiles as the census report will depend on sighting,’ said Dr Sudhakar Kar, a noted herpetologist and the former wildlife researcher of the forest department.
‘We have engaged forest guards, locals, environmentalists and others during the crocodile census in the water-bodies of the park who will enumerate both during day and night,’ Dr Kar said.
‘Around 80 people have been trained at Dangamala, within the park, about the method of counting crocodiles.
The enumerators will use GPS to map the exact location as well as take photographic interpretation with the date and time of the reptiles during the census,’ he added.
‘The night counting will give us a better result of hatchlings and yearlings since identification is easy during night.
The crocodiles are classified into different categories as per age gradation up to 2′-4″ – yearlings 4′-6″ juveniles, 6′-8″ sub-adults and beyond 8′ -0″ adults. We will also use spotlights in the night to count crocodiles.
We will apply thermometers to measure the temperature of the water and GPS to count the salt water crocodiles.
Field data on day and night eye shine counts will also be taken during the reptile census,’ added Dr Kar.
‘Entry of tourists into Bhitarkanika has already been imposed from 26 December to 4th January for the annual census,’ said Bikash Ranjan Dash, the divisional forest officer of Bhitarkanika .