Centre to display natural heritage

The state government has decided to set up a state-of-the-art interpretation centre in the Bhitatkania National Park to showcase its flora and fauna besides rich biodiversities.

By Our Correspondent in Kendrapara
  • Published 19.08.18
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Tourists board a boat in Bhitatkania National Park in Kendrapara district. Telegraph picture

Kendrapara: The state government has decided to set up a state-of-the-art interpretation centre in the Bhitatkania National Park to showcase its flora and fauna besides rich biodiversities.

The centre, which will be of international standard, is coming up under the Integrated Coastal Zone Management Programme. The project is worth Rs 3 crore, said an official."The project has been approved. Its construction will get under way towards in winter," said the programme's project director Sushant Nanda.

The centre will preserve the natural heritage of the national park, its flora and fauna. Besides, it will provide exposure to visitors, who are thronging the Ramsar wetland site. The researchers will also reap benefits as it will be storehouse of information and exhibits, he said.

At present, the national park has an interpretation centre at Dangmal. But, it has proved to be inadequate to preserve the vast reserve of natural heritage. That is why there was the need for establishment of a specialised and top-class interpretation centre.

Mangrove and wildlife researchers had also suggested for better showcasing of the natural heritage here.

Bhitarakanika continue to be one of the best natural abodes for estuarine crocodiles. It is said to house 70 per cent of the country's estuarine or saltwater crocodiles, conservation of which had been started in 1975. Crocodile population in Bhitarakanika is estimated to be 1,698, according to the latest census.

According to Bhitarakanika National Park authorities, mammals found in the place are leopard, wild boar, jungle cat, fishing cat, hyena, sambar, striped palm squirrel, Gangetic dolphin, while reptiles found consist of turtles, including the olive ridley ones, crocodile, lizard, water monitor, python and king cobra. Around 166 species of birds have been spotted in the park.

Bhitarakanika is one of the richest storehouses of mangrove genes. Researchers have come across 11 of the 70 mangrove species, which were at elevated threat of extinction.