Located 190 kms from Bhubaneswar and 160 kms from Cuttack, Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the most renowned sanctuaries in Odisha. Popular for its crocodiles and turtles, the sanctuary is spread over 650 sq kms and was declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1975. Converted into a national park in 1998, to preserve the turtles; the sanctuary has a thick mangrove forest which is home to a number of endangered and migratory birds.
Apart from reptiles, different types of mammals, birds, amphibians and fish are also found here. Out of 58 species of mangroves in India, 55 are available in Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary. Endangered animals like saltwater crocodiles can also be viewed in the sanctuary. Bhitarkanika also offers several rare mammals such as Hyena, Fishing Cat, Jungle Cat, Smooth Coated Otter, Civet, Indian Porcupine, Wild Boar, Spotted Deer and Sambar. The endangered Lesser Adjutant Stork also breeds here.
The nearest airport being at Bhubaneswar, the sanctuary is 77 kilometers from Bhadrak railhead. Located at 35 kilometers from Chandabali, the sanctuary is also well connected by road to the other parts of Odisha (Orissa).