• Bhitarkanika National Park is a large national park in northeast Kendrapara district of Odisha in eastern India. It is spread for 145 km2 and Bhitarkanika is the second-largest Mangrove ecosystem of India
  • It is the breeding place for the endangered saltwater crocodiles, which are the prime attractions of the sanctuary.
  • The national park is home to a varied species of flora and fauna
  • It was designated on September 16, 1998, and obtained the status of a Ramsar site on August 19, 2002
  • This national park is surrounded by the Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary 
  • It emerges out of a historical and cultural past as it was the hunting ground of the royal Raj Kanika family
  • Geographical Aspect:
    • The National park is carved out of the core area of the sanctuary and is the land for impeccable biodiversities
    • It lies in the estuarial region of Brahmani-Baitrani with the Bay of Bengal lying in the East
    • Gahirmatha Beach and Marine Sanctuary are to the east, separating swamp region and mangroves from the Bay of Bengal
  • It is a point for tourist attraction and a revenue-generating aspect for the state of Odisha.
Bhitarkanika National Park

Flora and Fauna in Bhitarkanika

  • The Gahirmatha Beach which forms the boundary of the wildlife sanctuary in the east is the largest colony of the Olive Ridley Sea Turtles
  • It is a location encompassing rivers, streams, creeks, accumulated land, backwater and mudflats
  • There are 215 bird species present in Bhitarkanika, including 8 varieties of kingfisher and the migratory birds from Europe and Central Asia
  • Venomous Cobras and Indian Pythons, the endangered water monitor lizards, Chitals, Jungle cat, Wild Pigs, Otter, Rhesus Monkeys, Sambar, Spotted Deer, Wild Boar and the Fishing Cat, are a few of the many reptiles, mammals and vertebrates that can be seen in Bhitarkanika
  • The Asian Open Bill, Cormorants, Darters, Black Ibis, Egrets, open billed storks, sandpipers, sea eagles, whistling teals, kites and seagulls are the frequently noticed avians of the sanctuary.

Concerns

  • Excess water allocation for industries, which is likely to reduce fresh water discharge to the sea.
  • The lack of normal flow of fresh water would increase saline ingression upstream, it would affect the local flora and fauna as well as the livelihoods of the farmers and fishermen dependent upon the Brahmani and the Kharasrota (tributary of the Brahmani).
  • There could be a quantum increase in the man–crocodile conflict since the estuarine crocodiles would leave the core sanctuary area and migrate upstream once salinity increases.
  • The reduction in water discharge will reduce the mangroves and without the mangroves, the Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary will become a marine desert.
    • Nutrients from Bhitarkanika are flushed out to the Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary, which attracts the world’s largest population of Olive Ridley sea turtles for congregation and nesting.

River Brahmani

  • It is a river in northeastern Odisha state, eastern India. Formed by the confluence of the Sankh and South Koel rivers in southern Bihar state, the Brahmani flows for 300 miles.
  • It winds generally south-southeast past Bonaigarh and Talcher and then turns east to join northern branches of the Mahanadi River, which then empties into the Bay of Bengal at Palmyras Point.
  • It is one of the few rivers that cut across the Eastern Ghats, and it has formed a minor gorge at Rengali, where a dam has been built.
River Brahmani

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