By Subhransu Panda, Bhubaneswar
Wildlife researchers were happy finding ‘Gori’ being a mother. 41-year-old Gori , India’s only female albino white crocodile, laid 40 eggs on 26th June at Dangamal in Bhitarkanika National Park, Kendrapada, Odisha.
A rare Reptile
Gori was born inside the Dangamal crocodile breeding and Research centre in an artificial method in 1975 from a crocodile egg collected from a creek inside the national park. She was named Gori for her rare whitish complexion. Experts say, such whitish crocodile is extremely rare in this world today.
Gori attained her adulthood in 1985. Sanctuary officials and scientists created several opportunities for her to find a male partner and mate with him in the creeks and rivers inside Bhitarkanika national Park. She rejected all her Desi(home grown) partners. Finally, authorities found a suitable partner in Thailand and flown him in all the way to India to mate with Gori. But the foreign crocodile too failed to impress beautiful Gori.
Since then the white queen was waiting for a suitable partner. Finally, last may, she found her partner in Bhitarkanika.
Losing Tail and Eye
Officials attempted thrice in 1994, 1995 and 1998 to find male partners for Gori. During every rejection, Gori had a massive fight with the male crocs. In 1995, her tail was cut in a fight with her male counterpart. In 1998, during a fight with the foreign croc, the male croc sustained injuries and Gori lost an eye.
Gori’s Flight to Meet Rajeev Gandhi
During one of his Odisha visits, the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi expressed his keenness to meet Gori in Bhubaneswar. It prompted Odisha Government to fly the rare crocodile in a special Helicopter to the Nandankanan Zoological Park in Bhubaneswar. According to forest department employees, those were present during the meeting, the former prime minister was stunned when he saw Gori.
Mascot of National Festival
Gori is always in limelight for her rare complexion and behavior. Internationally, she attracts eyeballs of wildlife enthusiasts, celebrities, and common mass. She is a wildlife celebrity herself. She was the mascot of National Youth Festival, 2010, in Bhubaneswar.
40 Years of Captivity and Virginity
Gori spent all most 40 years of captivity in a small enclosed pond(10 decimal) in the national park, since her birth in 1975. After years of debate, in 2014, officials decided to set the 8-feet long croc free in the sanctuary. A cross section of wildlife researchers and crocodile experts expressed the view that setting her free would be good for her health. Finally, her habitat was expanded 110 decimal area.
Akshaya Kumar Nayak, forest range officer, Bhitarkanika National Park said to Odisha Story, “In 2014 we expanded her habitat in the sanctuary. We provided her with creeks from natural river stream into her enclosure. There are two small male crocodiles staying in that stream other than Gori. Though we haven’t seen her mating, we doubt, perhaps a big crocodile from outside jumped into the enclosure and had mated with Gori. We all officials are happy now as Gori became a mother.”
Now there are 1671 crocodiles inside the National Park, counted during the annual reptile census in Bhitarkanika.
Subhransu Panda is an Author and Journalist and can be reached at email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org /9338655845