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Bhitarakanika to be closed for croc, bird census from Dec 24

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OST Bureau
Kendrapara, Dec 6:

Bhitarkanika National Park will remain closed for 16 days beginning from December 24 due to the census of the estuarine crocodiles and the migratory avian species that would continue till January 16.
Bhitarkanika
The ban on the entry of the visitors would be imposed to prevent noise pollution during the census drive, said Rajanagar mangrove and wildlife DFO Kedar Kumar Swain.

The head count of the salt water crocodiles will be organised under the supervision of wildlife personnel and crocodile researchers and experts.

The enumerators will be assisted by trained local forest staff, who would cover the Bhitarakanika river system, creeks, water inlets and nullahs where the reptiles are found in abundance.

The salt water crocodiles, being amphibious in nature, can be counted directly both on land and water.

During the last annual crocodile census, at least 1,649 salt water estuarine crocodiles had been sighted at the creeks, rivulets and water bodies of park’s river system.

During the same period, the Bhitarakanika forest officials along with the renowned ornithologists, bird experts and researchers will conduct bird status survey at Satabhaya, Raitapatia , Barunei Muhana, Chataka, Praharajpur and Bagagahan areas.

While forest officials would count the avian species with traditional method of ‘direct sighting,’ the wildlife researchers and ornithologists would use spotting scope, binoculars and cameras to count birds in the park, the DFO informed.

As per last year’s annual winter birds survey, an estimated 65,159 birds were sighted inside the park.