Bhitarkanika is the second largest mangrove ecosystem in India after Sundabans. Currently it enjoys the status of being a National Park and it may soon be designated as a bio-sphere reserve. Already in 2002 it has been declared as Ramsar site (wetland of international importance). It is habitat to more than 215 bird species including migrant birds, during winter, from central-Asia and Europe. It is also the home for King Cobra, salt-water Crocodiles, Indian Python and water Monitor Lizard.
World’s largest Olive Ridley sea turtles breeding ground is situated in Gahiramatha here. Gahirmatha is the only marine wildlife sanctuary of Odisha.
The most spectacular feature about Bhitarkanika is that it is home to eight types of Kingfishers namely: Black-Capped Kingfisher, Collared Kingfisher, Brown Winged Kingfisher, Stork-Billed Kingfisher, Pied Kingfisher, White-Throated Kingfisher, Common Kingfisher and Rudy Kingfisher.
Bhitarkanika is known for being a perfect place for eco-tourism. The floral diversity of Bhitarkanika wetland is considered to be the largest in India and the second largest after Papua New Guinea on the world map. Dangmal, Chandbali, Habalikhati, Dhamara, Gupti and Ekakula are some of the places here worth making a visit.