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Orissa Wildlife Tour
One of the most famous regions for its wildlife sanctuaries, Orissa offers a protected yet natural habitat to the state's incredible wildlife. Out of 155,707 sq. kms geographical area of Orissa, 52,472 sq. kms is recorded forest area, but the actual figure is 47,033 sq. kms according to the survey conducted by State of Forest Report (SFR 1999. For providing proper protection to the wildlife and their habitat 18 sanctuaries are notified as Protected Areas such as Gahirmatha Wildlife Sanctuary, one National Park (Bhitarkanika), one proposed National Park have been notified under the provisions of Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
Wildlife in Orissa
Tigers, Leopards, Elephant, Bear, Deer, Sambar, Black Buck and Wolves are seen frequently in the dense forests and hilly parts of the state.
The state is popular for its 19 species of amphibians, 110 species of reptiles, 473 species of birds and 86 species of mammals. More than 225 species of fish including Acentrogobius griseus, Alepes Djedaba, Arius Arius and Elops Machnata are available here.
Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary :
A vast area of 145 square kilometers have been officially been declared as the Bhitarkanika National Park. The national park in Orissa has enormous significance, considering the ecological, biological and geomorphologic backgrounds. The national park includes mangrove forests, creeks, estuaries, rivers, accumulated land, backwater and mud flats.
Besides the estuarine Giant Salt Water Crocodiles, the Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary in Orissa is also rich in avifauna, reptilian and mammalian population. The mangrove forests in the Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary are a good habitat for the King Cobra, Water Monitor Lizard and Indian Python. Inside the Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary , there is an area of approximately 4 hectares, which is visited by a large number of water birds, from the month of June to October every year.
Heavy downpours are common in the area giving birth to undergrowth shrubs. Ferns, bamboos and orchids are found in abundance here. You will also get to see Tejpata and Dalchini trees in this area. The fauna of this sanctuary is as rich as its flora. A variety of animals and birds are found here. The important animals include Tiger, Panther, Barking Deer, Jungle Cat, Hoolock gibbons,Himalayan Bear, Sambar, Wild Boar, Bison and Slender Loris. The most common birds here are namely Indian Horn Bill, Grey Pheasant, Doves, Jungle Fowl, Tragopan Pheasant and Green Pigeon.
Chandaka Elephant Reserve :
Chandaka elephant reserve is located in the Bhubaneshwar. It is only one of its kind in India. The residents of the reserve are elephants, sambar, bears, wild dogs, pea fowls and pythons.
Only one of its kinds, the dense and fascinating Chandaka forest is perfect place for eco-tourism activities. As the elephants generally venture out at night, a long evening within the reserve, on one of the watch towers built by the Forest Department close to the water-holes, is a thrilling experience and one gets the feeling that one is millions of miles away from civilization. These majestic animals have made the Chandaka Forest their home, and can be seen quite frequently. They are however completely wild, and on occasion become dangerous too.
Apart from the fabulous elephants, chital, bear, pea-fowl, sambar and numerous other animals roam about doing their daily business unhampered. The Forest officials have also spotted pugmarks of cheetahs within the forest.
Baisipalli Wildlife Sanctuary :
Baisipalli Wildlife Sanctuary was established in 1981 in the Eastern Ghats, rising from almost sea level to about 900 meters and forms one of the main sanctuaries in Orissa. The sanctuary extends over 166 square kilometers. Apart from elephants and tigers there are also sambar, mouse deer and a fascinating variety of fauna including migratory and resident avifauna. The best time to visit this sanctuary is from December to February. The nearest town of the sanctuary is Nayagarh, situated about 60 kilometers away. The nearest railway station and airport are at Khudra and Bhubaneswar, which is, situated 80 and 150 kilometers away respectively. For accommodation, four forest rest houses have been constructed.
Satkosia Gorge Sanctuary :
Satkoshia Gorge Sanctuary, was established in 1976 and, including a 22 kilometer long gorge where the Mahandi river cuts through the Eastern Ghats, the total sanctuary area is about 796 square kilometers. Dhenkanal is situated to the south of the gorge and to its north is Phulboni district. The nearest town from the sanctuary is Angul, situated at a distance of about 58 kilometers. The nearest railway station is Talcher, about 76 kilometers away, while the nearest airport is at Bhubaneswar, 220 kilometers away. The forest type of Satkoshia sanctuary is one of mixed deciduous forest with predominant species of sal, mahua and bahera. The forest was at one time the habitat of tigers and leopards, but at present these faunal species are rarely found. About 10 kilometers south of the gorge at Purnakote and Labangi, Gharials had made their home in the Mahanadi River and this sanctuary was established primarily to protect the crocodile, an endangered species.
A crocodile project was also set up with that objective. The sanctuary is also the abode of varied species of avifauna - Indian adjutant stork, red jungle fowl, Indian pitta and more. After covering a distance of about 30 kilometers from Angul, the road bifurcates. One goes meandering to the left and reaches Labangi while the other goes to Mahanadi River after crossing Purnakote. This sanctuary can be visited at any season of the year, but the ideal tourist season is from December to April. For night stays there is a facility of Forest Rest Houses inside the Sanctuary. However, prior reservation form the Divisional Forest Officer, Satkoshia Wild Life Division is necessary.
Ushakothi Sanctuary :
Ushakothi Sanctuary, established in 1962 over a forest area of about 285 square kilometers, the Ushakothi Sanctuary is situated at a distance of about 22 kilometers from Sambalpur. To the west of the Sanctuary lies Hirakud dam. Principally comprising of dry deciduous forest type, floral species like sal, sandalwood, arjun, neem, acacia, casuarinas are of frequent occurrence. The fauna includes, amongst others, tigers, elephants, sambar leopards and bison. Presently there are about 15 tigers and 35 elephants in the sanctuary. It is rich in avifaunal wealth and the main attraction of this sanctuary is racket tail drangos and flying squirrel. For night halts there is one two-roomed forest rest house inside the sanctuary. The reservations can be done through the Divisional Forest Officer of the same sanctuary, Bankura District, Sambalpur. The nearest town and railway station is Sambalpur and the nearest airport is at Bhubaneswar about 300 kilometers away. The best time to visit the sanctuary is between October and May.
The landscape of this region is densely covered with mountains and hills. A thick blanket of green plantations covers the whole of the surrounding areas of the Itanki Wildlife Sanctuary. Apart from the landscape, the range of animals found in the Itanki Wildlife Sanctuary is equally exotic. Rare species of animals are found in this sanctuary.
Hoolock Gibbon, the one and only Gibbon found in the country, houses in the Itanki Wildlife Samctuary. Other animals that the sanctuary houses includes Elephant, Sambar, Wild Dog, Barking Deer, Tiger, Goral, Mithun, Flying Squirrel and Sloth Bear. Hornbil, Kaleej and Black Stor are the bird species that the sanctuary houses.
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