Wildlife personnel in Bhitarkanika National Park in Orissa have spotted 60 nesting sites of estuarine crocodiles, official sources said.
The figure on the number of nests may increase as the counting process of estuarine nests is still on as the breeding season is not over.
Last year, altogether 57 nesting sites had been spotted, forest officials said.
The nests were sighted by wildlife enumerators of the forest department along the innumerable nullahs, creeks and water-inlets in Bhitarkanika river system, an ideal habitat of saltwater crocodiles, the sources said.
Female crocodiles lay 50 to 60 eggs and the hatchlings usually emerge from the nests after 70-80 days of incubation period. An estimated number of 700 crocodile hatchlings were sighted to be emerging from the nesting sites last year.
Forest department sources said due care has been taken this time by wildlife staff so that crocodiles' eggs may are devoured by predators like snakes, jackals and dogs, found in the reserve.
Adequate conservation measures by the state forest department have led to a systematic rise in the number of these reptiles over the years, claimed officials.
The number of salt water crocodiles, the species which are not found in any other river system in Orissa, as per the latest census, is over 1600.