Bhitarkanika National Park

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Overview:

Odisha’s Bhitarkanika national park will soon be connected by rail as the proposed Jajpur Road-Dhamra railway line will pass through the park.

About Bhitarkanika National Park

  • Location: It is located in Kendrapara district in the state of Odisha.
  • It is India’s second-largest mangrove ecosystem after the Sunderbans. 
  • The national park that is sprawling across 672 km² of mangrove swamp is situated on a delta formed by rivers, namely Brahmani, Baitarani, and Dhamra.
  • The national park was established in September 1998 and was built in the heart of the Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary, founded in 1975. 
  • Proximity to the Bay of Bengal makes the soil of the area enriched with salts; the vegetation and species of the sanctuary are comprised of those that are mainly found in the tropical and subtropical intertidal regions.
  • It is home to a multitude of mud huts, creeks, backwaters, and estuaries.
  • The area was designated as the second Ramsar Site of the state in August 2002.
  • Flora: 
    • It houses various species of mangrove spread across its forest region, marshy lands, creeks, etc. 
    • Thespia, casuarinas, sundari, and indigo bush grasses are some of the other varieties of flora that flourish in the area.
  • Fauna:
    • Bhitarkanika has one of the largest populations of endangered saltwater crocodiles in India.
    • Gahirmatha Beach, which forms the boundary of the park in the east, is the largest colony of Olive Ridley Sea Turtles.
    • Other mammals include monkeys, jackals, common langurs, otter, sambar deer, jungle cats, fox, Mongoose, wolfs, fishing cats, hyenas, etc.

Q1) What is an estuary?

Estuaries and their surrounding wetlands are bodies of water usually found where rivers meet the sea. Estuaries are home to unique plant and animal communities that have adapted to brackish water—a mixture of fresh water draining from the land and salty seawater.

Source: Odisha: Bhitarkanika National Park to get railway link