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Bhitarkanika National Park opens for public

Bhitarkanika National Park

The Bhitarkanika National Park in Odisha's Kendrapara district reopened on Sunday after the conclusion of the annual census of estuarine crocodiles. It was closed for tourists and visitors from January 15 to January 23 to facilitate the annual crocodile census, said a forest official.

Bhitarkanika is said to have 70 per cent of India's estuarine or saltwater crocodiles, the conservation of which was started in 1975. The park spread over 672 square kilometres, obtained the status of Ramsar site, is home to saltwater crocodile, water monitor lizard, king cobra, Indian python, spotted deer, wild boar, black ibis among several other species of flora and fauna. Eight varieties of kingfishers can be found in this park.

The Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan who visited Bhitarkanika along with State Government officials, tweeted: "Dense mangrove forests, exciting trekking trails, birds chirping in colonies, creeks and canals teeming with wildlife – Bhitarkanika National Park spoils you for choices. An off-the-beaten track, a visit to Bhitarkanika is a must during this time of the year.” He added, “Home to saltwater crocodiles, the park also is the only habitat of the rare and endangered albino estuarine crocodiles."

The second largest mangrove ecosystem in the country, Bhitarkanika is often referred as mini Amazon in India. Besides, the park, the region also has several medieval Hindu temples.

(With inputs from IANS)