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Freedom evades white crocodile

Source: PTI
October 29, 2004 09:23 IST
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The Orissa forest department has once again deferred a proposal to release Gori, the country's only white crocodile in captivity at the Crocodile Research Centre at Dangamal, in the wild.

The female croc has been living in a small enclosure inside the centre, located in the Bhitarkanika National Park in Kendrapara district, for 25 years.

Authorities were thinking of setting her free this winter in deference to suggestions by wildlife conservationists.

The Bhitarkanika Park has scores of crocodiles in the innumerable rivers, creeks and other water bodies close to the sea.

But senior wildlife personnel, after deliberating on the issue, had sought the opinion of a Chennai-based crocodile research farm, which advised against releasing her, sources said.

The reason behind the decision is not known but apprehension about other crocodiles attacking her could be one of the factors.

Crocodiles continue to be bred under the 'rear and release' scheme at the research centre in Dangamal. Eggs are collected from wild nests and hatched artificially. The babies are nurtured till they grow into juveniles and then released into the wild during the winter.

Gori, who was born white, had hogged media attention for her typical behavioural instinct. Living in isolation since birth, she shunned attempts to pair her with a male.

She once attacked a male crocodile released into her pen and lost her eye. At times, she refused food for weeks together.

She has been under constant observation for the last couple of years after her health deteriorated. Right now her health is good.

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