Wild life and Ecotourism of Odisha
Wildlife of Odisha
- The fauna of the region includes Deer, Sambar, Black Panthers, Tiger, Leopard, Elephant, Hyena, Wildboar, Bear, Porcupine, Reptiles, Blackbuck, Monkey, Squirrel, Jungle Cat, Hyena, Jackel, Karanja Lizards, Chameleon and Mangoose.
- Eighteen Sanctuaries, a National Park and one proposed Tiger conservational Park constitute the Protected Area network of Odisha that covers 6611.12sq.km of area which is 4.25% of the geographic area and 11.37% of the forest area of the state. In addition to this, a stretch of 20km wide marine habitat of 1408sq.kms of seascape constitutes the Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary.
- Bhitarkanika was constituted as the first sanctuary in the Odisha under the provisions of Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, and was notified in April 1975.
- Other Sanctuaries to follow were Satkoshia Gorge (1976), Hadgarh (1978), Similipal and Nandankanan (1979), Baisipalli and Kotagarh (1981), Chandaka, Karlapat and Khalasuni (1982), Kuldiha and Balukhand (1984), Lakhari & Debrigarh (1985), Badrama and Chilika-Nalaban (1987), Sunabeda (1988) and Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary (1997).
- The Bhitarkanika National Park was finally notified in the year 1998, and the notification of proposed Similipal National Park was issued in two phases; first in 1980 and then, in 1986.
- One of the premier zoos of the country, the Nandankanan Zoological Park, was established in 1960 over an area of 3.62sq.kms, in a natural setting. The zoo has 1109 animals of 151 species (460 mammals of 49 species, 536 birds of 75 species and 113 reptiles of 27 species); housed in 93 enclosures (Cages-58, Moated-35). The White Tiger Safari, Lion Safari, Aquarium, Aviary, Orangutan, Chimpanzee, Toy Train, Boating and Aerial Ropeway are some of the major attractions of this zoo.
Detailed explanation of Major Protest area
Badrama Wildlife Sanctuary
- “Badrama Wildlife Sanctuary”, which is also known as “Ushakothi Sanctuary” is situated at a distance of 37 Km. from the district headquarters of Sambalpur District towards Deogarh on NH- 6.
- The sanctuary comprises of parts of Badrama Reserve Forests, Ushakothi Reserve Forests, Binjipali Reserve Forests and Additional Kansar Reserve Forests.
- The Sanctuary is characterized by the presence of Moist Sal Forests; Sal dominated mixed deciduous Forests, and bamboo forests.
- The Sanctuary forms a significant part of Sambalpur Elephant Reserve.
- The sanctuary has its own significance for its rich treasure of flora and fauna, which includes many rare and endangered species of the region.
Baisipalli Wildlife Sanctuary Odisha
- Baisipalli Wildlife Sanctuary Odisha, spread over 35 sq km entirely in Nayagarh district, makes a co-end with the Baisipalli Reserve Forest.
- It is situated in the close proximity of the Satkosia Gorge Sanctuary, the Baisipalli Wildlife Sanctuary is lying in the south.
- Baisipalli Sanctuary is one of the eminent wildlife sanctuaries in Odisha that vividly illustrates the diverse natural heritage of the East Indian state.
- The sanctuary is home of bears, elephants, leopards, Sambar Deer, and spotted deer.
- The sanctuary is popular for its deciduous forests, dry deciduous forests and moist peninsular Sal forests.
- Rich in flora and fauna, this place borders the Mahanadi River along the Satkosia gorge, which also includes the Gharial Crocodile Sanctuary of Tikarpara of Odisha state.
- The sanctuary is blessed with a well-wooded hilly terrain, rendering abode to elephants, tigers, leopards, herbivores like Chousingha and water birds, and a few varieties of reptilian including Python and King cobra.
- This sanctuary is situated at suitable location along sea coast between Puri and Konark.
- This Wildlife Sanctuary extends from Banki Muhan near Puri to Keluni Muhan near Daluakani.
- The sanctuary is filled with lush green vegetation; undisturbed sandy beaches offer high potentialities for developing as a major eco-tourism spot in Odisha.
- The sanctuary is covered by plantation of casurina and cashew trees.
- It is home to herds of herbivores (deer), monkeys, jungle cat, hyena, monitos lizad, etc.
- Olive Redly sea turtles are seen nesting in the beach.
- Balukhand-Konark Wildlife Sanctuary is traversed by the rivulets such as Nuanai River, Kusabhadra River, Kadua River and Prachi River.
- The flora of the area includes casuarina, acacia, cashew, eucalyptus, neem, karanjia, etc.
- The region is famous for the occurrence of a large number of blackbucks and spotted deer.
- The prominent fauna also include monkey, squirrel, jungle cat, hyena, jackal, mangoose and variety of birds and reptiles.
Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary
- Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the estuarial region of Bramhani-Baitarani, in the north-eastern place of Kendrapara district of Odisha (Orissa), the sanctuary covers an area of 672 square kilometers of Mangrove Forests and Wetland.
- Three rivers flow out to sea at Bhitarkanika forming a tidal maze of muddy creeks and mangroves.
- Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary is home to numerous species of birds.
- It is also home to the endangered and mysterious King Cobras.
- The sanctuary has to its account is the inhibition of its ecosystem by the Giant Estuarine Crocodiles and numerous varieties of other animal species.
- Bhitarkanika Mangrove Ecosystem is richest from bio-diversity point of view. The floral diversity in Bhitarkanika is 2nd largest after Papua New Guinea.
- The Protected Area encompasses variety of habitats and microhabitats. Mangroves serve as nesting, feeding and breeding grounds for wide range of invertebrates and vertebrates.
- The Sanctuary is home to the largest number of Estuarine Crocodiles in the Indian sub-continent. With a population of more than 1600 crocodiles.
- The heronry at Bagagahana / Mathaadia (largest in Asia) provides nesting space to a large number of resident water birds during rainy season where as the wetlands spreading throughout the sanctuary serve as feeding grounds for a number of migratory birds during winter.
- It is the only major mangrove patch of the State of Odisha which is legally and administratively well protected and has a long term role in protecting the life and property of the people of the hinterland from cyclones, and other natural calamitie
Chandaka Sanctuary, Khurda
- Chandaka Sanctuary is a wildlife reserve located in north western fringe of Bhubaneswar in the Indian state of Odisha.
- Chandaka –Dampara Wildlife Sanctuary comprises major forest area i.e. notified forest blocks of Chandaka Wildlife Division.
- Chandaka Wildlife Sanctuary was declared primarily to preserve wild elephants and elephant habitat.
- A variety of snakes, like the python, and the monitor lizard can also be sighted there.
- The bird life of the sanctuary is no less significant as large number of species of birds can be sighted there.
Chilika Sanctuary (Khurda, Puri & Ganjam districts of Odisha)
- Chilika Lake in Orissa is Asia’s biggest internal brackish water lake studded with few tiny islands.
- This pear shaped lake, separated from the Bay of Bengal also imbibes one of the most supportive ecosystem in the name of Chilka Wildlife Sanctuary in the region.
- It is also popularly known as Nalabana Bird Sanctuary.
- The large Nalabana Island covering 15.53 sq km in the lagoon area was declared a bird sanctuary in 1987. The core area of about 6 sq km attracts around 400,000 waterfowls of different species.
- Nalaban island is completely submerged in the monsoon months.
- This tiny island supports congregation of about 60% of total migratory birds visiting Chilika lagoon each year.
Debrigarh Wildlife Sanctuary
- Debrigarh Wildlife Sanctuary, an important site for in-situ conservation of wildlife and its habitat in the state of Odisha is home to an enormous array of biodiversity, a large number of species of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fishes, odonates, butterflies and spiders are found here.
- The sanctuary is famous for its sylvan beauty and pristine wilderness.
- The dry deciduous forests with varied flora and fauna attract the nature-lovers of Odisha and neighboring states.
- The combination of dry deciduous mixed forests with rich wildlife, Hirakud reservior and attractive topographical features are the important features of Debrigarh wildlife sanctury.
- It is one of the important sanctuaries in Odisha, this is also known for the waterfalls falling down the hillsides in the monsoon season.
- The Hirakud reservoir attracts large number of migratory birds during winter season.
- Chausingha,Gaur,elephant,Sambar and Spotted Deer, Bear, Leopard, porcupine, Jackal, Fox, Wolf, Hyena, Wild Dog are the main species found only at the Debrigarh Wildlife Sanctuary
- Gahirmatha is the single-handed mass nesting spot in Indian Ocean region and the only turtle sanctuary in Odisha.
- The Olive Ridley turtles travel across the South Pacific to breed on the coast of Gahirmatha.Million of Olive Ridley turtles visit the beach during mass nesting every year.
- Olive Ridley turtles typically nest during night time.
- The sanctuary is also home to variety of flora and fauna. Wild boar, barking deer, bear, leopard, crocodile, jungle fowl, samber and wild dogs are among the other wildlife seen in the sanctuary.
- Gahirmatha was declared a turtle sanctuary in 1997 by Odisha Government after considering its ecological importance and as part of efforts to save the sea turtles from loss.
- Olive Ridley turtles get their name from the coloring of their heart-shaped shell. It starts out gray but changes to olive green when the turtles turn adults.
- It is an ideal destination because it is the world’s largest nesting beach of Olive Ridley Sea Turtles.
Hadgarh Wildlife Sanctuary
- Hadgarh Wildlife Sanctuary lies in the district of Keonjhar and Mayurbhanj. It is near the Hadgarh reservoir of Salandi Dam.
- This region is rich in mixed deciduous forest and play home to variety of wildlife.
- The wide range of fauna that can be seen at Hadgarh Wildlife Sanctuary in Odisha, It includes leopard, tiger, fishing cat, jungle cat, langur, pangolin and hyena.
- Hadgarh Wildlife Sanctuary is also abode of several species of birds and reptiles.The conservation area of Hadgarh Wildlife Sanctuary is very popular with the tourists who wish to relish the wild and unspoilt natural environment.
- It was established in the year 1978 covering an area of regarding 06sq kms.
- The Salandi river passing through its forest is its lifeline.
- The Salandi river is home to mugger crocodile.
- There is a dam in the Salandi River named Salandi dam.
Similipal Tiger Reserve in Mayurbhanj district
- Similipal Tiger Reserve in Mayurbhanj district is endowed with high peaks like Khairiburu,Maghasini and rocky cliffs like Ganapati facing the frost-valleys in Devasthali.
- The name ‘Simiipal’ is believed to be derived from the abundance of Semul or Red Silk cotton trees which bloom vibrantly every year.
- The biodiversity of the land scape with high degree of endemism is the striking feature of the sanctuary.It harbours Tiger, Leopard, Sloth bear, Elephant, Gaur and other important major faunal species.
- Similipal is the only home for the unique melanistic tiger in the world.
- There are 55 species of mammals, 361 species of birds,62 species of reptiles,21 species of amphibians, with many species of invertebrate are present in the landscape.
- The undulating terrain and its perennial sources of water are the two striking features of the entire region.
- The forest boasts of innumerable medicinal and aromatic plants, which provide a source of earnings for the tribal people.
- The Tiger Reserve is rewarding for bird watchers and anthropologists.
- Over 4.5lakh people generate livelihood possibilities from Similipal Tiger Reserve
Satkosia Gorge Sanctuary
- Satkosia Gorge Sanctuary owes its name to the narrow stretch of River Mahanadi that is “sat-kosh” or seven miles long near Tikarpada, 60km south of Angul.
- Here Mahanadi has cut across the Eastern Ghats and is known for the gharials, mugger crocodile and rare freshwater turtles like Chitra indica and Trionyx (Aspideretes) gangeticus.
- The Gorge is famous for the scenic beauty and boating experiences in Mahanadi.
- A Nature Interpretation Centre at Tikarpada supplements an ecotourist’s search for subject and thrill.
- The composite Satkosia-Baisipalli sanctuary having an area of 963.87 Sq.kms. is declared as “Satkosia Tiger Reserve’ during 2007.
- Satkosia Gorge Sanctuary extending in an area of 795.52 sq.km, is a rare place of beauty where nature is generously bountiful in all its forms of flaura and fauna.
- Satkosia Gorge Wildlife Sanctuary was established in 1976 in Odisha.
- Spread out in four districts of Odisha namely Angul, Budh, Cuttack and Nayagarh.
- Satkosia Gorge has an exclusive geomorphology feature as Mahanadi cuts it through the Eastern Ghats thus forming a wonderful gorge.
- High range of hills on the southern portion of Mahanadi river and the northern sides are covered with different range of mountains.
- The sanctuary functions as a carbon sink to the fast-growing industrialization around Angul.
- Heavy biotic pressure on the sanctuary due to presence of several human habitations in and around the sanctuary.
- The enchanting gorge spreads over 22 kms. forms a special habitat for aquatic fauna and flora.
The Karlapat sanctuary
- The Karlapat sanctuary is located in Kalahandi South Division which is 12km from Bhawanipatna in Kalahandi district covering a dense patch of lush green dry deciduous forest.
- A beautiful waterfall, ‘Phurlijharan’ has been developed as a picnic spot for the local visitors and draws large number of visitors from far off places in and around Kalahandi District.Karlapat Wildlife Sanctuary is home to a plethora wildlife animals and birds.
- The sanctuary is rich in wildlife such as leopard, gaur, sambar, nilgai, barking deer, mouse deer,soft claws ottawa, a wide variety of birds and reptiles.
- The undulated topography of the sanctuary, with hills, valley, perennial streams and deep water pools give it an unique charm.
Kapilash Wildlife Sanctuary
- Kapilash Wildlife Sanctuary in Dhenkanal district lies in Central Odisha which attracts tourists because of its unique floral, faunal and geomorphological diversity.
- There is an abudance sal, saguan, kendu, kumbhi and mohua apart from other trees, shrubs, herbs & climber.
- There are mammals like Elephant, wild boar, deer, monkeys, jungle cats, giant squirrels and birds like peacock, oride, hill myna, parakeet, owl, grey hornbills etc in the Santuary.
- The dense forests and the presence of wild animals draw many nature lovers to this area.
- Kapilash being a religious place of the state having a Shiva shrine attracts people round the year from Odisha West Bengal, Chhattisgarh and other neighboring State.
- A temple of Lord Vishwanath is also there in Kapilash.
- The Gharial breeding centre and science park are an added attraction for the tourist.
- There is a small zoo at the foot of the Kapilash called” Kapilash Zoo“.
Khalasuni Wildlife Sanctuary
- Khalasuni Wildlife Sanctuary with its panoramic greenery and serene landscape, cascading waterfalls, and variety of flora and fauna, is one of the most attractive places in Odisha.
- Sanctuary is situated from NH-42 at a distance of 60.0 Km in North-west of Rairakhol and 50.0 Km in North-east of Sambalpur.
- It is also accessible from Deogarh side, which is about 80.0 Kms.
- With the adjoining Badrama Wildlife Sanctuary, this sanctuary offers a good habitat with carrying capacity of a large number of elephants of the region.
- The Sanctuary harbours a rich treasure of flora and fauna.
- The Khalsuni-Satkosia corridor is also an important elephant corridor in the state. The Sanctuary is a part of Sambalpur Elephant Reserve also.
- Khalasuni Wildlife Sanctuary comprises of mostly Sal dominated forests along with its associates and miscellaneous species.
- This Sanctuary is a dwelling place of the carnivorous animals such as Leopard, Jungle Cat, Wolf, Jackal, Civet, Small Indian mongoose reflecting the beauty nature of the Sanctuary
Kuldiha Wildlife Sanctuary
- The Sanctuary includes Kuldiha, Devgiri and Tenda Reserved Forests and other Protected Forests of the State.
- Kuldiha sanctuary area, adjoining Nilgiri forest in the North and Mayurbhanj Forest in West, is a typical representative of mixture of peninsular (coastal) Sal forest and moist mixed deciduous forest.
- It comes in the Biogeographic region of Deccan peninsular zone which is of enormous genetic and ecological importance with a variety of flora and fauna.
- The significance of the Kuldiha Wildlife Sanctuary can be categorized as:
- It abodes a number of endangered and threatened wild animal species like Asiatic Elephant, Leopard, Gaur, Mouse deer, Pangolin, Ratel, Giant squirrel etc.
- Some endangered bird species like Hill myna, Wood pecker, Hornbill and Eagles are also found in the Sanctuary.
- It forms part of Mayurbhanj Elephant Reserve and linked to Similipal Biosphere Reserve through Hadgarh Wildlife Sanctuary, thus forming a vast landscape contributing to the cause of conservation of long ranging Asiatic Elephants and Tiger.
Kotagarh wildlife sanctuary
- Kotagarh wildlife sanctuary located in the Baliguda subdivision of Kandhamal district.
- This wild Life Sanctuary with an extensive area of 399.5 Sq.Kms is well Spreaded over the part jurisdiction of Kotagarh and Tumudibandha Range under Kotagarh, Tumudibandha and Daringabadi C.D.Block of Balliguda Civil Sub-Division.
- The main vegetation of the region consists of dense deciduous forests with grasslands.
- The sanctuary is home to a large number of mammals and reptiles.
- Major wildlife species are elephant, gaur, sambar, spotted deer, peafowl, red jungle fowl and a variety of reptiles.
- This sanctuary is located in the district of Gajapati is prosperous with tropical mixed deciduous forest, hills, perennial water sources and a variety of wildlife such as Leopard, Porcupine, pangolin, Giant squired, civet, otter, wolf, peafowl, Parakeet, Owl, Myna, Heron, Hornbill, hyena, elephant, deer, sambar and a variety of birds and reptiles.
- This sanctuary can be approached from Berhampur, Taptapani (famous for its hot water spring) and Chandragiri.
- The sanctuary spreads over an area of around 175 sq.kms.
- The sanctuary spread over 1 hectare areas which include both Nandankanan Zoological Park of 362.36 heactare (includeing Kanjia Lake of 66.1 hectare) and Stae Botanical Garden 74.74 hectares.
- Nandankanan sanctuary comprises of two demarcated protected forest(DPF) blocks viz.Krishnanagar,Jujhagarh and Kanjia lake,a nature water body,some acquired private land and Govt. waste lands.
- Amidst lush green forest along the banks of Kanjia lake, lies Nandankanan Zoological Park which together with lake and Botanical garden is declared as sanctuary.
- The park is set in a beautiful natural setting and is one of the finest parks in the country with natural enclosures unlike other conventional zoos.
- It has an open Lion Safari and first zoo in the world, where gharials have bred in captivity, it boasts of a beautiful botanical garden too.
Sunabeda Wildlife Sanctuary
- Sunabeda Wildlife Sanctuary in Nuapada district is largely a grass-covered plateau adjoining Udanti and Sitanadi Sanctuaries of Chhatisgarh State.
- The sanctuary is an attraction to eco-tourists because of waterfalls, caves, archaeological sites at Giribaman, Jumlagarh Fort and Muraguda, and the bird observation points at Jalki and Raital Bandh in Maraguda.
- Sunabeda is home to 4 tigers and 20 leopards alongwith other species like Hyena, Barking Deer, Chital, Gaur, Sambar, Sloth Bear, Hill Myna, Pea Fowl, Partridge etc and a number of reptilian species also inhabit the sanctuary
Wild life Sanctuary Map of Odisha
Elephent Reserve of State
Mayurbhanj Elephant Reserve (Constituted: September 2001)
- Districts: Portions of Mayurbhanj, Balasore, Bhadrak and Keonjhar
- Forest Division: Similipal Tiger Reserve, Karanjia, Baripada, Rairangpur, Balasore WL, Keonjhar WL Division
- Latitude North: 21° 10′ to 22° 35′
- Longitude East: 85° 45′ to 87° 05′
- Area: 7043.74 sq. km
Mahanadi Elephant Reserve (Constituted: June, 2002)
- Districts: Angul, Cuttack, Nayagarh, Kondhmal, Dhenkanal
- Forest Division: Portions of Angul, Athagarh, Cuttack, Nayagarh, Boudh and Dhenkanal, and entire Satkosia Wildlife Division, Mahanadi Wildlife Division and Athamallik Forest Division.
- Latitude North: 20° 10´ to 21° 5´
- Longitude East: 84° 15´ to 85° 58´
- Area: 1038.30 sq km
Sambalpur Elephant Reserve (Constituted: March, 2002)
- Districts: Sambalpur, Sundargarh, Jharsuguda
- Forest Division: (Parts) of Bamra (Wildlife), Bonai, Sambalpur, Jharsuguda, Rairakhol.
- Latitude North: 20° 5’ and 22° 12
- Longitude East: 83° 13’ and 84° 58
- Area: 426.91 sq km
Name of National Parks, Year of Notification and Total Area is as follows…
|S. No.||Name of National Park||Year of Notification||Total Area(km²)|
|1||Bhitarkanika National Park||1988||145|
|2||Simlipal National Park||1980||845.7|
Bhitarkanika National Park
- It was declared as a Bhitarkanika National Park in the year of 1988. Total area of the park is about 00 Sq. Km.
- Bhitarkanika is formed from two Odia words ‘Bhitar’ meaning interior and ‘Kanika’ meaning that which is extraordinarily beautiful.
- The sanctuary has 55 different varieties of mangroves which are used as nesting ground by the migratory birds coming from Central Asia and Europe every year.
- Teak, Salaia, Bamboo, Hair, Babul, Zizphus, Kauriculata, Palas are the other significant flora of the region
- The park is home to the endangered saltwater crocodile, White crocodile, Indian python King Cobra, Black ibis and many other species of flora and Fauna.
- The Park is also a prime habitat of leopard cat, fishing cat, jungle cat, hyena, wild boar, spotted deer, sambar, porcupine, dolphin, water monitor lizards etc
Simlipal National Park/ Sanctuary/ Biosphere Reserve
- Simlipal sanctuary is one of the UNESCO recognized biosphere reserve in India spread in an area of more than 2750 Sq. Km. of the Chotanagpur plateau.
- It was formally designated a tiger reserve in 1956, and under Project Tiger in the year of 1973.
- The Government of Odisha declared Simlipal as a wildlife sanctuary in 1979 with an area of 2,200 Sq. Kms.
- “Mugger Crocodile Scheme” was started in the year 1979 at Ramatirtha Jashipur.
- Simlipal was declared as a National Park in the year of 1980. The total area of the park is 845.70 Sq. Kms.
- The park has some beautiful waterfalls like Joranda and Barehipani.
- The park holds the highest tiger population in the state of Orissa.
- About 55 species of mammals, 304 species of birds, 60 species of reptiles, 21 species of frogs, 38 species of fish and 164 species of butterflies have been recorded from the Park.
Major Tiger Reserve of State
SIMILIPAL TIGER RESERVE:
- Mayurbhanj District holds the major population of tiger within the state.
- Less than thirty tigers were surviving here in the year 1975.
- Sustainable protection measures and management initiatives have resurrected the dwindling population of tigers in the region.
- Recent census of tigers conducted by the use of both pugmark and camera trap techniques in the year 2016 shows presence of 29 tigers.
- Similipal is the only unique place in the world that houses the source population of melanistic tigers.
- Most of the tigers from North Similipal are moving to south Similipal that remains a better habitat, and the leopards, more adaptable than the tiger, are appearing in most of the habitats vacated by the tiger.
SATKOSIA TIGER RESERVE:
- Encompasses the Satkosia Gorge Sanctuary which was constituted in May 1976 and the Baisipalli Sanctuary, constituted in November 1981.
- The Tiger Reserve is rich in large cats and their prey along with wetland fauna (Gharial, Mugger, freshwater turtles, etc.) in the Mahanadi and rich biodiversity in the terrestrial ecosystem.
- The Tiger Reserve is located in the Central Zone of Odisha and spreads over Angul, Cuttack, Nayagarh and Boudh districts covering an area of 963.87 sq. kms and comprises of Moist Deciduous Forests, Dry Mixed Deciduous Forest, Bamboo Brakes, Dry Tropical Riparian Forest and Teak Plantations.
- Satkosia Gorge is the home to the most endangered Gharial (Gavialis gangeticus), the Mugger crocodiles (Crocodylus palustris) and a variety of freshwater turtles.
- Other faunal elements include Leopard, Wild dog, Gaur, Nilgai, Sambar, Spotted Deer, Barking Deer, Bear, Ratel, Jackal, Porcupine, Indian Hare, and Giant Squirrel etc.
- A viable but stabilized population of about 155 elephants thrives in this region which also forms a part of the Mahanadi Elephant Reserve
Ecotourism of Odisha
- The state of Odisha with its rich natural and cultural heritage is one of the main attractive tourist destinations in the country.
- The tourists, who know Odisha for its temples, crafts and dance, deserve greater exposure to its hinterland of hills, forest and wildlife.
- Well-endowed with vast forest areas, rivers, coast line, beaches, lakes and lagoon, the state provides unique opportunities for ecotourism in Odisha.
- Ecotourism, distinguished from other forms of tourism in terms of its minimal impact on the visited areas, is defined as: “Responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the welfare of local people.” (TIES, 1991)
- Ecotourism offers an opportunity to showcase the state’s unique natural and associated cultural heritage to visitors while enhancing the livelihood options for the local people.
Ecotourism Policy of Government of Odisha
Vision of Policy
- Ecotourism will promote responsible travel to natural areas and provide opportunities for visitors to experience firsthand, understand and ‘quietly’ enjoy state’s natural and cultural heritage.
- This will lead to conservation of nature, sustaining of ecological processes, increased respect for local culture and traditions and tangible improvement in the local economy.
Goal of Policy
- To provide recreation and promote understanding about nature and wildlife conservation with income generation and employment opportunity to local people while according priority to bio-diversity conservation, ecosystem functioning and socio-economic development.
OBJECTIVES of Policy
The above will be achieved through the following objectives:
- Objective 1- Promote amongst all stakeholders, awareness, experiential learning and understanding of the values and principles of sustainable and responsible community based tourism, particularly in relation to the state’s protected areas and other areas of wilderness.
- Objective 2- Develop, brand and market an Odisha style of visitor experience, particularly with respect to promoting a ‘quiet’ enjoyment of its natural heritage.
- Objective 3- Invest in appropriate and eco- friendly infrastructure for ecotourism for tourists.
- Objective 4-Establish partnerships between all stakeholders to develop and promote destinations and activities in accordance with defined principles, standards and legal requirements of community based ecotourism.
- Objective 5- Build capacity of all stakeholders in natural and cultural heritage interpretation, hospitality, business and communication skills to successfully and sustainably manage tourist traffic.
Ecotourism Principles: Ecotourism will be promoted and developed in accordance with the above vision, goal and objectives, based on the following core set of principles:
- Principle 1 Nature Area Focus – provide visitors with the opportunity to directly experience nature.
- Principle 2 Interpretation – provide opportunities to visitors to experience nature in ways that lead to greater understanding, appreciation and enjoyment.
- Principle 3 Environmentally Sustainable Practice – ensure environmentally sustainable practices within carrying capacity of the area.
- Principle 4 Promotion of Conservation and Benefits to Local Communities – ensure promotion of conservation and tangible returns to the local communities.
- Principle 5 Respect Culture – be sensitive to understand oral local culture
- Principle 6 Strategic Marketing for Customer Satisfaction – to market and promote effectively so that realistic customer expectations are achieved.
Institutional Set for Odisha Tourism
Odisha Ecotourism Development Board
- Odisha Ecotourism Development Board is proposed to be the apex body in the state engaged in promotion of ecotourism and development of requisite systems and standards for the same.
- CONSTITUTION: The Board shall have the following composition
- Chief Secretary – Chairperson
- Secretary (Forest and Environment)
- Secretary (Tourism)
- Secretary (Finance)
- Secretary (Revenue)
- PCCF Odisha
- CWLW Odisha
- Nominated members
- Travel and Tourism (1)
- Wildlife Conservationist (1)
- NGO (1)
- CEO / Member Secretary
- Plan, develop and facilitate ecotourism projects compatible with this policy.
- Identifying and establishing an Odisha brand with unique values of the State, through consensus building process involving all stakeholders.
- Developing and enforcing standards and norms for promotion and implementation of ecotourism destinations, based on specific carrying capacity studies conducted.
- Identify and prioritize ecotourism destinations throughout the State based on parameters to be defined and approved by the Board.
- Establish partnerships between various government departments, local communities and other stakeholders.
- Promote community based ecotourism enterprises in protected areas and other potential destinations through constitution of “Ecotourism Societies” at the forest division/PA level.
- Capacity building of various stakeholders.
- Develop marketing strategies and promote networking among ecotourism enterprises and operators.
- Facilitate education, research, monitoring and evaluation of the ecotourism activities.