Bhitarkanika National Park is in Kendrapada district of Indian state Odisha. The word “Bhitarkanika” means interior of superbly beautiful (Bhitar means interior and Kanika means superbly beautiful) place. It is situated on the estuary of Baitarani and Brahmani river. On the east the Bay of Bengal lies. The sanctum sanctorum of Bhitarkanika wildlife sanctuary with pristine lush mangrove was declared as Bhitarkanika national park. The site has also been declared as a Ramsar site since 2002. The mangrove flora of Bhitarkanika national park is the most diverse mangrove cover in the country.
Flagship Animal: Estuarine Crocodile
Notified Area: 145 km2
The National Park was designated in 1998.
Best time for visit the park is November to February.
The flora comprises both mangrove and broad-leaved deciduous forest elements. More than 310 species of plants have been recorded so far. A total of 32 true mangrove species as well as more than 70 mangrove associate species are found in the limit of Bhitarkanika National Park.
Leopard cat, fishing cat, wild boar, spotted deer, sambar, otter are sighted frequently. Aquatic mammals such as Irrawaddy dolphin, Ganga dolphin, bottle nose dolphin and hump back dolphins are found in the water of Bhitarkanika.
A total of 263 bird species belonging to 63 families have been recorded from the park. Asia’s largest multispecies heronry Bagagahan comes into active during monsoon. 10 species of herons nest together in the Bagagahan heronry.
This national park is dominated by reptiles. Estuarine crocodile is the flagship animal. Three species of monitor lizards, more than 20 species of snakes are found in the park. King cobras, Burmese pythons, kraits are commonly found.
Park Specific Activities: Boating
Khola to Gupti via Dangamal and vice versa.
Gupti to Habalikhati via Patasala mouth.
Entry Points: Dangamal, Gupti, Chandbali.
Nearest Airport: Bhubaneswar
Nearest Railways Station: Bhadrak (45 km) and Cuttack (90 km)
Entry Points are well connected by roads.
The park remains closed from May to July for being nesting period of saltwater crocodiles. In the peak winter the park remains closed for 10 days for annual estuarine crocodile census as well as winter water fowl census.
N.B. Entry permit to Bhitarkanika National Park is required to be taken from the Mangrove Forest Division, Rajnagar.