Crocodile steals sanctuary show

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By OUR CORRESPONDENT in Bhubaneshwar
  • Published 13.08.08

Bhubaneswar, Aug. 13: A four-year-old female albino crocodile has proved to be the latest crowd-puller at Dangamal Crocodile Research Centre in Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary.

The yet to be named juvenile crocodile was bred at an artificial hatchery at Dangamal from eggs collected by forest officers four years ago. The young animal is said to be fairer than the famous 33-year-old Gori, also staying at the same sanctuary.

Currently housed in the artificial hatchery at the breeding centre, forest officers are now mulling to move the unnamed crocodile to an open pen. “We are planning to release it in a pen complete with a pond and a natural environment,” said Prasanna Kumar Behera, the divisional forest officer of the Rajnagar mangrove (wildlife) forest division. The move would help researchers study the crocodile’s behaviour. The juvenile albino, now 3.5ft, is next only to Gori as the main attraction for hundreds who visit the sanctuary. Gori, now a 6.9ft adult female, is one of the rarest albino crocodiles in Asia.

The new albino is seen as a suitable stand-in for her.

When shifted to her pen, Gori’s health improved — a result that researchers wish to duplicate by moving their new crocodile to the open.

A few months ago, when male crocodiles were released inside Gori’s pen to facilitate breeding, the animal injured her mates and lost an eye in the fight. Since then, mating plans have been shelved.