Kendrapara: The Bhitarkanika National Park in Kendrapara district will remain closed for tourists from December 26 to January 4 for the annual census of saltwater crocodiles.
DFO Bikash Kumar Das said the park will be closed down to prevent noise pollution and carry out the census smoothly. The counting drive will cover the Bhitarkanika river system besides creeks, inlets and nullahs.
Saltwater crocodile expert Dr Sudhakar Kar will supervise the census with the assistance of trained forest staff.
The total number of crocodiles in the park was 1,742 in the last census. The enumerators sighted 619 hatchlings, 347 yearlings, 273 juveniles, 178 sub-adults and 325 adults.
According to the 2017 census, 1,682 crocodiles were sighted. Out of these, the number of hatchlings was 608, while yearlings numbered 334, juveniles 266 (3-6 feet), sub adults 172 (6-8 feet) and adults 302 (8-20 feet).