Wildlife in Orissa - A Glimpse into
Orissa is a state with some of the best wildlife
sanctuaries in India. Over the years, wildlife has become
the main tourist attraction in Orissa. With effective
conservation policies and unimpaired landscape, the state
has been able to preserve the dynamic and fragile ecosystem.
Many of the species are rare and endangered which makes
visiting these sanctuaries a unique experience. Beside,
greenery and natural treasures in and round the parks, is
spellbinding. The most celebrated of all is the Chilka Lake
which has been designated as a Ramsar site (Wetland of
International Importance). Chilka Bird Sanctuary receives
around a million migratory birds from all parts of the world
during the winter season. It also has rich variety of
aquatic life and flora. Nandankanan Wildlife Sanctuary is
other park that has received many accolades from tourists
and wildlife lovers.
Nandankanan Wildlife Sanctuary
This is probably the easiest to reach wildlife sanctuary
in Orissa. Situated just 13 km from capital city of
Bhubaneswar, Nandankanan Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the
few where you will find natural enclosures for the animals.
The park was established in the year 1979 and is seen as one
of the best in India. Nandankanan is the first Wildlife Park
in the world where gharials are bred in captivity. Covering
an area of 4.4 sq. km, the park has white tigers, gharials,
Asiatic lions, Indian Pangolin and mouse deer. You can also
enjoy an open lion safari in the park. The park is located
on the banks of Kanjia Lake. And Nandankanan experience is
incomplete without a boat ride in the lake. The best time to
visit the park is between October and March. The park is
closed on all Mondays. In summers, the park is open from
7.30 AM to 6 PM whereas in winters timings are from 8.00 AM
till 5 PM.
This is without a doubt the most famous wildlife sanctuary
in Orissa. Chilka Bird sanctuary is situated on the Nalaban
Island in between the Chilka Lake. Not only is it renowned
for birds, but it has a rich variety of flora and
aquatic-life as well. Chilka Bird Sanctuary receives around
a million birds in the winter season. Few of the birds that
had migrated here made this their permanent nesting grounds.
There are more than 225 species of fishes in the lake.
According to a survey, the lake supports around 800 species
of fauna in and around Chilka. Many of them are rare and
endangered. The most famous among tourists is Irrawady
Dolphins. Due to the diverse ecosystem, Chilka Lake has been
designated as Ramsar site (Wetland of International
Importance). Along with exploring the wildlife, you can also
enjoy a soothing boat ride in the lake.
Bhitarakanika Wildlife Sanctuary
Located in the estuarial region of Brahmani-Baitarani, in
the north-eastern place of Kendrapara district of Orissa,
the sanctuary covers an area of 672 square kilometers of
mangrove forests and wetland. Crossed by a thick network of
brooks, with the Bay of Bengal on the east, Bhitarkanika
Wildlife Sanctuary is home to over 215 species of birds,
including winter migratory birds from Europe and
Apart from the Mangroves, another rarity that the sanctuary
has to its account is the inhibition of its ecosystem by the
Giant Salt Water Crocodiles and numerous varieties of other
animal species. It is because of these specialties only that
a vast expanse of forest around 145 square kilometers has
been officially declared as the Bhitarkanika National Park.
This park including mangrove forests, creeks, estuaries,
rivers, accumulated land, backwater and mud flats is very
significant for the ecological, biological and
geomorphologic background of Orissa.
Simlipal National Park
Situated around 320 km from Bhubaneswar in Mayurbhanj
District, Simlipal National Park is one of the most
important national parks in Orissa. It once used to be the
hunting ground for Maharajas of Mayurbhanj. The Park was
established as a tiger reserve in the year 1972 and was
later recognized as a national park in the year 1979. With
numerous rivers, waterfalls and varied flora, Simlipal
National Park is an absolute nature's wonder. The animals
that you can spot here are tigers, jungle cats, spotted
deer, elephants and chinkaras. However the most easily
spotted are the crocodiles on the banks of rivers. The park
is also home to more than 220 species of birds which will
keep enthusiastic bird watchers interested. Simlipal
National Park is open to public from November to June. You
will need an entry permit for the park, so it is advised
that you apply minimum 15 days in advance.
Orissa is rich in wildlife like many other states of
India. But there is something in the sanctuaries of Orissa
that attract more tourists to these lands. It is the variety
of animals that are found in Orissa. The number of
endangered and rare species is also very high. So if you
wish to see animals that you have never seen, then visit the
many national parks of Orissa.