Similipal Tiger Reserve
Located in the Mayurbhanj district Similipal with its dense green forests, hilly terrain, broad open valleys, plateaus, grass lands and rich bio-diversity has the unique distinction of being a Tiger Reserve, a National Park (proposed), a Wildlife Sanctuary, an Elephant Reserve and a Biosphere Reserve. Semi-evergreen to dry deciduous forest types (1076 species of plants including 94 varieties of orchids) provide suitable home for a variety of fauna (42 species of mammals, 231 species of birds and 29 species of reptiles). Important and rare wildlife include tigers (98 nos.) against the total nos. of 194 tigers in the entire state as per 1998 census), elephants (565 as per 1999 census), leopard, sambar, spotted deer, barking deer, mouse deer, gaur, hill myna, hornbills, peacock, python, cobra, lizards etc. Similipal is the richest watershed in Odisha feeding several perennial rivers such as Budhabalanga, Khadkei, Khairi-Bhandan, Westdeo, Salandi etc. Gorgeous Barheipani (400 mt.) and Joranda (150 mt.) waterfalls are of great attractions. The rich bio-diversity, the physical and topographical features of Similipal constitute a unique and delightful destination for scientists, nature lovers, students and tourists.
Bhitarkanika National Park
Located in the district of Kendrapada, Bhitarkanika harbours rich and unique bio-diversity which has been declared as a wildlife sanctuary and also a National Park. The area is surrounded by rivers such as Brahmani, Baitarani and Dhamara and is criss-crossed by several creeks and creeklets. The area supports rich bio-diversity including dense mangroves (63 species), largest population of estuarine crocodiles (1098 as per 2000 census), the rare white crocodile (sankhua), largest Indian lizards (water monitor), poisonous and non-poisonous snakes like king cobra and python, varieties of resident and migratory birds (217 species) and a number of mammalian species (spotted deer, sambar, wild boar, fishing cat, jungle cat, otter etc). The sea beach, borderding the sanctuary attracts thousands of olive ridley sea turtles for mass nesting / egg laying during the winter months (January to April). Bhitarkanika mangrove ecosystem is unique of its kind and it is a best reptile refuge in the entire country.
Gahirmatha Marine Wildlife Sanctuary
Gahirmatha is the only marine sanctuary of Odisha adjoining Mahanadi delta which extends from Ekakula Nasi Islands in the N.E. to Telanga Muhan in the SW. The sanctuary limits extend 20 km. into the sea. It has been created to protect the endangered olive ridley sea turtles, dolphins and other marine fauna. Gahirmatha is known in the world oven as a unique mass-nesting site (rookery) of the olive ridley on the calm sandy shores of the Bay of Bengal..
Satkosia Gorge Tiger Reserve
Satkosia gorge is a unique feature in geomorphology in India. Here Mahanadi has cut right across the Eastern Ghats and has formed a magnificent gorge. Located in the districts of Angul, Cuttack, Nayagarh and Boudh, Satkosia Gorge Sanctuary (795.52 sq. km.) with sylvan beauty and excellent natural features is an attractive destination for scientist and nature lovers. The major attraction of the area is 22 km. long gorge (known as Satkosia Gorge) of the river Mahanadi which divides the area into a two distinct parts accessible respectively from Angul and Nayagarh or Boudh. The area supports moist deciduous forest, dry deciduous forests and moist peninsular sal forests and is stronghold of tiger, leopard, elephant, gaur, sambar, spotted deer, mouse deer, nilgai, choushingha, sloth bear, wild dog etc., varieties of resident and migratory birds and reptilian species (gharial, mugger crocodile, fresh water turtle, poisonous and non-poisonous snakes etc.). Major attraction of the sanctuary is the gorge, river Mahanadi, the Gharial Research and Conservation Unit at Tikarapada, hill slopes, various tracking routes and boating.
Chandka - Dampara Wildlife Sanctuary
Twenty kilometers from the centre of temple city of Bhubaneswar lies Chandka-Dampara Sanctuary (175,79 sq.km.). This small and attractive sanctuary with undulating topography presents a fascinating rejuvenated forest and rich bio-diversity. The mixed tropical dry deciduous and moist deciduous forests with miscellaneous species, bamboo and planted teak provide ideal habitat for elephant (83 nos.), leopard, hyena, spotted deer, wild dog, wild boar, ratel, pangolin, pea fowl, red jungle fowl, white ibis, dab chicks, open bill stork, egret, python, monitor lizard etc. The natural water body and forests provide suitable nesting ground for 82 species of migratory and resident birds.
Kuldiha Wildlife Sanctuary
This sanctuary is located in the district of Balasore and is blessed with a charming forest and a variety of wildlife such as tiger, leopard, elephant, gaur, sambar, giant squirrel, a number of bird species like hill myna, peafowl, hornbills and various reptiles. The sanctuary is linked with Similipal through Sukhupada hills and Nato hill ranges. A trek from Nilgiri amidst Kuldiha forests is worth enjoying. Two rest houses at Kuldiha and Jadachuan and the perennial streams are treating for the visitors.
Debrigarh Wildlife Sanctuary
The combination of dry deciduous mixed forests with rich wildlife, Hirakud reservoir; attractive topographical features are the important features of Debrigarh wildlife sanctuary. The Hirakud reservoir attracts large number of migratory birds during winter. The forest area is ideal habitat for Chousingha. Other prominent fauna includes tiger, leopard, gaur, sambar, spotted deer, sloth bear, resident and migratory birds, monitor lizards, chameleon etc. The sanctuary entry point at Dhodrokusum adjoining Hirakud reservoir is 40 km. from Sambalpur and 60 km. from Baragarh.
Chilika Lagoon Bird Sanctuary
Chilika, the largest brackish water wetland (1000 sq. km approx.) in the country is situated in the east coast of the state in the district of Puri, Ganjam and Khurda. A vast and picturesque lagoon / lake is famous for rich bio-diversity including the migratory birds and has been acknowledged as a “Ramsar site”. This vast lagoon studded with small fascinating islands and sandy beaches interspersed with casuarina grooves along the Bay of Bengal. Over 167 species of resident and migratory (94 species) birds including flamingo, white bellied sea eagle, Brahminy kite, spotbilled pelican, barheaded goose, open billed stork, spoonbill, Brahminy duck, wigeon, pintail, shoveller, ibis, stilt, heron, egret, avocet, gull, tern, kingfisher etc. find their winter abode in this wetland. Besides this wetland provides home for endangered Irrawaddy Dolphin but their population is under much pressure. The sunrise and sunset in Chilika are unforgettable scenes.
Manglajodi is a small picturesque hamlet on Chilika’s northern boundary, known for its vivid birdlife. In winter, Manglajodi comes alive with birds from Europe and the Northern Himalayas that migrate to spend their winters in its warm waters. Ducks like Pintail, Shoveller, Garganey, Gadwall and Pochards; and waders such as Black Tailed Godwits, Black Winged Stilts, Ringed Plovers, undertake a perilous journey across the Himalayas and can be easily spotted here. However, Manglajodi has come a long way. Manglajodi was famous as ‘Poachers Village’ because of the involvement of villagers in Bird Poaching and selling it in the local market. The traditional occupation of the villagers was trapping birds for consumption and sale. Even the eggs were not spared. It was no surprise therefore, when the census in the year 2000, counted a mere 5,000 birds in these waters.
Wild Orissa, an organization working for wildlife conservation, witnessed this alarming decline in the bird population and acted quickly to wean the villages away from poaching and the lucrative bird trade forming the ‘Sri Mahavir Bird Protection Committee’. The erstwhile poachers now actively patrol and protect their marshes from bird trappers and egg stealers. Born naturalists they monitor the bird population, co-ordinate with the forest department, assist in research and take tourists around for a boat-ride through the marshes of Manglajodi. Protection has benefited not only Manglajodi’s birds, but also its fishes, Snakes, and other biodiversity in the area including the endangered and elusive Fishing Cat. Manglajodi now host more than 400,000 birds in the peak season and is an important birding destination in Orissa.
Sunabeda Wildlife Sanctuary
Located close to the boundary of Chhatisgarh state on the western fringe of Odisha in the newly created Nuapada district, this sanctuary covers 600 sq. km. of dry deciduous forests. The plateau on the hill top holds a slightly undulating flat land with good edible grass. Eleven beautiful waterfalls and seasonal streams which dry out during summer leaving few deep pools of water. These are very fascinating attractions. Major wildlife species are: tiger, leopard, hyena, barking deer, chital, gaur, sambar, sloth bear, varieties of birds such as hill myna, pea fowl, partridge and a number of reptilian species. This sanctuary is considered as an ideal habitat for Barasingha (locally extinct).
Bhetnoi Blackbuck Conservation Area
Endangered Blackbuck Antelopes have increased their number and have started to spread out to new areas in Ganjam district. These Blackbucks are found especially in Balipadar - Bhetnoi areas of Ganjam district. The enumeration has proved that the blackbucks have a very cordial coexistence with the human populace in the area. Due to it they have started to make new forest sections near human habitats their new homes. Since generations the blackbucks are revered as harbingers of rain in Balipadar - Bhetnoi area. During a long spell of drought in the area more than a century ago sighting of a small group of Black bucks had coincided with rains. In 1918 a localite Chandramani Dora and Britisher who was locally known as ‘Green Saheb’ had took major initiatives to protect this species by prohibiting killing of these animals. They had also published a notification in local newspapers about it. The dream of Dora and ‘Green Saheb’ seems to be materializing. Recent census reveals that within a year the number of blackbucks in Ganjam district has risen from 1101 to 1671. But the forest officials and wildlife activists are too enthusiastic about the sighting blackbuck habitats in areas where they were not being sighted earlier. Earlier they were found in the forests near around 70 villages of Buguda, Aska and Khallikote forest divisions. The traditional belief that the presence of Blackbucks in paddy fields brings prosperity has contributed greatly to this recent position of Blackbucks in the area. As per the recent data out of the total area under the blackbuck habitat in Ganjam district around 60 per cent happens to be agricultural land.