Odisha’s Bhitarkanika National Park Reopens Doors to Visitors After Three-Month Closure
Odisha, August 3, 2023: Odisha’s renowned Bhitarkanika National Park has welcomed visitors once again, marking the end of a three-month hiatus that was enforced to facilitate the annual census of estuarine crocodiles. The park, nestled in the heart of nature’s beauty, closed its gates from May 1 to July 31, resuming its operations to the delight of tourists.
Sudarshan Gopinath Yadav, the Divisional Forest Officer of Rajnagar Mangrove (Wildlife) Forest Division, confirmed that the park is now accessible to day visitors and also offers accommodations for night stays in cottages and guest houses.
Booking arrangements for visiting the park have been streamlined through the official website, www.ecotourodisha.com. In an effort to attract tourists from all corners of India and beyond, the forest department is extending rest house facilities in strategic locations such as Dangamala, Gupti, Habalikothi, and Eakakula.
The closure, aimed at ensuring a disturbance-free environment for the annual nesting of crocodiles, has been a successful endeavor. During this period, the reptiles tend to exhibit aggressive behavior and have been known to confront intruders.
Tourists planning a visit are reminded of the prohibition on plastic disposables in protected areas. The park management emphasizes the importance of adhering to a green protocol and refraining from littering plastic bottles or polythene in the forest.
A highlight of Bhitarkanika National Park is its captivating boat journeys through the enchanting mangrove-covered water bodies. On any given day, a considerable number of visitors, ranging from 350 to 400, embark on boat trips to explore the park’s scenic wonders.
The park boasts a rich biodiversity, with mammals including wild boars, leopards, hyenas, jungle cats, fishing cats, sambars, palm squirrels, and Gangetic dolphins. Its reptile inhabitants encompass turtles, including the Olive Ridley sea turtle, lizards, crocodiles, water monitors, pythons, and king cobras. Moreover, the park is a haven for bird enthusiasts, with around 166 bird species documented within its confines.
One of Bhitarkanika’s notable contributions to conservation is its role as a repository for mangrove genes. A total of 11 out of the 70 mangrove species found here were facing the threat of extinction globally, highlighting the park’s significance in safeguarding these vital ecosystems.
As Bhitarkanika National Park throws open its gates once more, visitors have the opportunity to reconnect with nature’s marvels while contributing to the preservation of this ecological treasure.