Bhubaneswar: The crocodile and bird population in the Bhitarkanika National Park in Odisha’s Kendrapara district has come down, an official said Tuesday.

Announcing the findings of an annual census, divisional forest officer Kedar Kumar Swain said the number of crocodiles is 1,644, five less than last year’s 1,649.

He said the number of migrant and resident birds sighted in the park also fell sharply to 68,154 against last year’s figure of 81,000.

The officer told IANS there were four giant crocodiles measuring more than 20 feet, including a 23-foot saltwater crocodile which found a mention in the Guinness Book of World Records in 2006 as the largest in the world.

Bhitarkanika, about 170 km from here, is known for its mangrove forests and many species of migratory birds.

The census was conducted Dec 29-Jan 9, involving forest officials, environmentalists, activists of non-government organisations and local people.

The sanctuary is also famous as the world’s largest rookery of Olive Ridley sea turtles.

Source: IANS