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Artificial eggs spawn baby crocodiles

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By The Telegraph Online
  • Published 24.08.09

Kendrapada, Aug. 23 (PTI): Wildlife lovers are jubilant as babies of estuarine crocodiles have emerged out of the artificially hatched egg-shells in the crocodile research farm of Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary.

As part of the “rear and release” programme of these endangered species, eggs collected from the wild were hatched artificially, said Rajnagar mangrove (wildlife) division officials.

Of the 79 eggs hatched this year, there has been emergence of 63 babies from equal number of nests, they said.

The young crocodiles released into a captive pond would be reared for more than a couple of years before being freed into the wild. The rear and release of these hatched reptiles has been going on since 1975, funded by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The conservation project undertaken in Bhitarkanika tasted success while a similar UNDP-funded gharial conservation project launched simultaneously in Tikarpada sanctuary was a failure.

From hardly a hundred, the crocodile population has swelled considerably over the years. Now, 1,572 crocodiles inhabit along Bhitarkanika’s water bodies, according to the latest census of these animals. The estuarine crocodiles are not found in any other river system in Orissa.

Besides the mangrove forest along with its fauna, these reptiles are a major tourist attraction of Bhitarkanika sanctuary.