Bhubaneswar: The home to the endangered Saltwater Crocodile (Crocodylus porosus), Bhitarkanika National Park, which is also the second largest mangrove ecosystem in India may soon get listed in UNESCO World Heritage Sites list.
Created in September 1998, Bhitarkanika National Park is located in the Kendrapara District in Odisha in eastern India with a core area of 145 square kilometers of the Bhitarkanika Wild Sanctuary.
Listed in 1984, the famous Konark Sun Temple is only the site from the state of Odisha that enjoys World Heritage Site prestige currently.
The principal chief conservator of forest (wildlife) – SS Srivastava said, “We are planning to accord World Heritage Site status to Bhitarkanika National Park and Chilika Lake. Both the sites have unique features to get the tag.”
Mr. Srivastava also said that Odisha forest department and Wildlife Institute of India (WII), Dehradun have previously signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to carry out a study and collecting of a wide-ranging bio-diversity dossier of the National Park for the UNESCO World Heritage Site list.
He further added, “They have already visited the site and would visit the site in the coming days for additional study. They would collect ground-level information on biodiversity, local human habitation and social-economic condition of inhabitants during the study.”
Presently, Bhitarkanika National Park is under the security of UNESCO to learn whether it deserves the status of World Heritage Site.
Srivastava said that once the required data and information is collected, they will forward it to the Central Government to take further steps to get the status from UNESCO.
Beside Bhitarkanika National Park, officials are also working hard to get the World Heritage Site status for the Chilka Lake (Chilika Lake), which is brackish water lagoon spread over the Puri, Ganjam and Khudra districts of Odisha state.
It is the largest lagoon in India and the second largest in the world. The lake is home to some endangered species of plants and animals (flora and fauna).
In 1981, Chilika Lake was labeled as the first Indian wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention.