An exquisite biodiversity combined with beautiful terrains and a Mangrove dominated ecosystem is what Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary in Orissa is comprised of. The spectacular wildlife, birds and vegetation makes Bhitarkanika one of the most amazing wildlife sanctuaries in India. Located in the estuarine region of Brahmani- Baitrani in the state of Orissa the sanctuary continues to attract tourists all through the year.
Mangroves are spread all over the entire 625 km area of the Sanctuary including the wet and the marshy lands. The sanctuary has 55 different varieties of mangroves which are used as nesting ground by the migratory birds coming from Central Asia and Europe. Teak, Salaia, Bamboo, Hair, Babul, Zizphus, Kauriculata, Palas are the other significant flora of the region. The sanctuary is also the breeding location for the giant salt water crocodiles which includes the rare partially white crocodiles. To see these marsh crocodiles in their pristine habitat is an awesome experience. These are the primitive inhabitants of most of the creeks flowing around the Sanctuary. The sanctuary also houses 215 species of birds which includes eight different varities of Kingfisher alone. Woodpecker, White Bellied Sea Eagle, Brahmany Ducks, Sea Gull, Hornbill, Waders, Bar Headed Geese etc are other avifauna of the region.
Pestilential reptiles like pythons and king cobras reside in the sanctuary. Water monitor lizards, flying fox, wild dogs, leopards, wild boar, four horned antelopes, Chinkara, Hyena, Blue Bull and Bear are the other important fauna which are flourishing within the protected area of Bhitarkanika National Park.
A core area of 145 square kms has been carved out of the sanctuary to form Bhitarkanika National Park. The park is of immense geomorphologic, ecological and biological significance because of the crisscrossing creeks, rivers, estuaries, backwaters, mud flats and accumulated lands and constitutes an ideal location for trekking, camping and picnic. On the coast of Bay of Bengal on the sprawling beach of 35 kms lies the world heritage site of Gahirmatha Beach which is the nesting ground of the Olive Ridley Sea – Turtles.