Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Orissa and Saltwater Crocodiles

The world's largest saltwater crocodile, measuring a whopping 23 feet, has been found in the Bhitarkanika sanctuary on the Orissa coast in India. Before reading about this, I didn't even know there were saltwater crocs in Orissa. And I had almost surely never heard of Bhitarkanika.

Salties, of course, are big business in Australia. They attract hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of tourists every year to that country. Several documentaries have been made to celebrate these wonderful creatures. One of the more famous ones being SuperCroc, a two-hour special by Steve Irwin, wherein he set out to capture the largest saltwater croc in Australia, and managed to catch a 17-foot monster (17 feet, tch! We don't even bother to tag those in Bhitarkanika, S C Mohanty would say).

The point I'm trying to make here is (you just knew there was a point lurking around somewhere, didn't you) that Orissa should make use of its salties to promote tourism. When you house some of the largest and rarest reptiles in the world, you don't just sit on them. You make some noise. Advertise. Publicize. Boast about it. Invite NGC to make a documentary. That sort of thing. Orissa has one of the poorest economies in India, but is incredibly rich in natural resources. They should try and use the latter to improve the former. Ministry of Tourism, please take note. Oh, and please do something about that lousy website, too.


At November 1, 2006 at 11:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good to hear good things about Orissa. But pray tell us who measured the so-called largest croc in Bhitarkanika ? WHO ? And WHEN ? We checked out with wildlife officials and they say they have never ever done any kind
of measuring exercise in the Bhitarkanika croc zone. So what's the source of this 23 feet long myth ? Wildlife people keep telling you they have been seeing a couple of 18 to 20 feet long crocs in the Bhitarkanika creeks.
If you corner them they would reduce the length to 15-17 feet.
So why does not the wildlife department undertake a MEASURING
exercise with help of wellknown international croc experts ? Are they scared that the myth would explode ? I would say they should go ahead and start measuring the
biggies in Bhitarkanika. Who knows, we could even discover a giant 50-feet long croc out there !!!


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