Wildlife of Odisha
Bhitar Kanika National Park
Bhitar Kanika National Park in Balesore district in an area of 167sq.km is better known as a marine park. The park with its mangrove forests in the rivers Brahmani- Bhaitarani Delta and creeks, estuaries, back water, accreted land and mud flats was mainly established to protect the saltwater crocodile and other marine inhabitants of the region. It was notified as a Crocodile sanctuary in 1975 and a crocodile breeding centre has been established by the Odisha Government. The park contains tidal swamp forests consisting of an abundance of mangrove, saltwater and brackish water mixed species such as Causarinas, Thespia, grasses like indigo bush etc. It is the second largest viable stretch of mangrove forest in the Indian mainland. The Fauna of the park include Olive ridley turtles (sea turtle), saltwater crocodiles, wild pigs, rhesus monkeys, leopard, wild boar, hyena, jungle cat, sambar, giant squirrel, water monitor, chitals, king cobra, python, fishes besides insects and other micro fauna. Birds found are strokes, ibis, white necked sea eagle and fish eagle etc.
Simlipal National Park
The Simlipal National Park in Odisha, the former hunting place for the Maharajas of Mayurbhanj, was established as a tiger reserve in 1956 and in 1972 it became a part of the Project Tiger Scheme followed by the attainment of the national park status in 1979. This national park and tiger reserve in northern Odisha is covered with the wide stretches of sal forests. The national park is home to twelve rivers and innumerable waterfalls and the native Santhal tribes of Odisha. The important and major rivers amongst these are Burhabalanga, Palpala Bandan, Kahairi and Deo. Besides tigers the other animals found at the Simlipal National Park include chausingha, sambhar, mouse deer, chital, leopards, elephants, langurs, spotted deer, barking deer or munjtac, wild dogs, wild boars, sloth bears, gazelles, nilgai, ratels, rhesus macaque, chinkaras, chevrotains, jungle cat, elephants, hyenas, porcupines, monkeys, jackals, gaurs, black-faced langur monkey, mugger crocodiles, turtles, snakes, bison, monitor lizards, panthers, flying squirrels, mongooses and other animals.
Nandankanan National Park
Located at a distance of 20 kms from Bhubaneshwar, Nandankanan justifies its literal meaning i.e. “Garden of Pleasure” picturesque Nandankanan, or the Garden of the Gods, is a beautiful biological park, 20 kms from Bhubaneshwar, established in 1960. It sprawls across the Chandaka forest, where the flora and fauna flourish in their natural habitat. The park houses the very first captive gharial breeding centre of the country. The zoo at Nandakanan is world-renowned for its white tigers. Tigers, Lions, Clouded Leopards, Black Panthers, European Brown Bear, Himalayan Black Bear, Gharials, Rosy Pelican, Grey Pelican, Indian Python, King Cobra, etc. are among the attractions of the region.
Balpakram National Park
The literal meaning of Balpakram is the “land of perpetual winds”. There is a great precipice or deep gorge in Balpakram and is popularly compared to the Grand Canyon of U.S.A. It is a vast tableland of dense forest, teeming with wild life, undoubtedly one of the richest spot in bio-diversity in the country. It is home to the rare Lesser Panda, the Indian bison and the Stag like Serow. A variety of medicinal herbs locally called “dikges” grow abundantly in Balpakram.
Bandhavgarh National Park
Set amongst the Vindhyas, in Madhya Pradesh, Bandhavgarh is a small national park, but with the highest known density of tiger population in India. This is also known as White Tiger territory. The National park is dominated by the ancient Bandhavgarh Fort, located on a plateau and reached after a steep climb. The fort is now in ruins, its monuments and tanks beings gradually reclaimed by the forest, thus providing additional shelter for wildlife such as Black Bucks. The other species found in abundance in Bandhavgarh are the gaur or Indian bison, the sambar, the barking deer and the nilgai.
Sunabeda Wildlife Sanctuary
Proposed as a Tiger Reserve, the Sunabeda Sanctuary is located close to the boundary of Chhatisgarh state on the western fringe of Odisha in the newly created Nuapada district. The sanctuary is an attraction to ecotourists because of eleven waterfalls, caves at Ranimuhas, archaeological sites at Giribaman, Jumlagarh Fort and Muraguda, and the bird observation points at Jalki and Raital Bandh in Maraguda. Sunabeda forms a part of the tourist route linking Nrushinghanath, Harishakar, Patal Ganga, Patora Reservoir and Jogeswar Temple. Major wildlife species are: tiger, leopard, hyena, barking deer, chital, gaur, sambar, sloth bear, varieties of birds such as hill myna, pea fowl, partridge and a number of reptilian species. This sanctury is also considered as an ideal habitat for Barasingha (locally extinct).
Chilka Bird Sanctuary
The vast and dream like Chilika Lagoon is situated on the east-coast of India. It is the largest brackish Water Lagoon with estuarine character that sprawls along the east coast. It is the largest wintering ground for migratory waterfowl found anywhere on the Indian sub-continent. It is one of the hotspot of biodiversity in the country. Along with a variety of phytoplankton, algae and aquatic plants, the Lake region also supports over 350 species of non-aquatic plants. It has the record of hosting over 800 species in and around the lagoon.The rich fishing ground sustain the livelihood of more than 0.15 million fisherfolk who live in and around the Lagoon.
Satkosia Gorge Wildlife Sanctuary
Satkosia gorge is a unique feature in geomorphology in India. Here, the river Mahanadi has formed a magnificent gorge. The area supports moist deciduous forest, dry deciduous forests and moist peninsular sal forests and is stronghold of tiger, leopard, elephant, gaur, sambar, spotted deer, mouse deer, nilgai, choushingha, sloth bear, wild dog etc., varieties of resident and migratory birds and reptilian species (gharial, mugger crocodile, fresh water turtle, poisonous and non-poisonous snakes etc.) This sanctuary along with Baisipalli spread on either side of Mahanadi boasts of tigers, leopard, elephant, gaur etc. A Gharial Research Centre and the Interpretation Centre are located close to the Forest Rest House at Tikarpada.
Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary
Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the few sanctuaries in India, which has crocodiles and turtles as its prized attractions. The sanctuary is a protected zone for estuarine crocodiles. It is also the home to a number of birds and every year a large number of migratory birds come to nest into the mangrove area. The other animals that you can see at the Bhitarkanika sanctuary include King Cobra, Indian Python and Water Monitor Lizard. The area supports rich bio-diversity including dense mangroves (63 species), largest population of estuarine crocodiles (1098 as per 2000 census), the rare white crocodile (sankhua), largest Indian lizards (water monitor), poisonous and non-poisonous snakes like king cobra and python, varieties of risident and migratory birds (217 species) and a number of mammalian species (spotted deer, sambar, wildboar, fishing cat, jungle cat, otter etc).
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