Considered as a nature’s wonder, the biodiversity-rich Bhitarkanika National Park in Odisha’s Kendrapara district is most likely to find a place in the list of world heritage sites as its mangrove eco
Considered as a nature’s wonder, the biodiversity-rich Bhitarkanika National Park in Odisha’s Kendrapara district is most likely to find a place in the list of world heritage sites as its mangrove ecosystem has been nominated as one among the nine natural eco-sites of the country for the tag.
According to reports, a six-member team of International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) visited the eco-system on Friday to assess various aspects of the sanctuary for its inclusion in the world heritage list.
The delegation, among others, will evaluate different aspects relating to protection, conservation, bio-diversity, inclusiveness of the area, people’s participation, tourism potential, livelihood of the people, environmental quality and make recommendations to the World Union for its inclusion, sources added.
Prior to their visit to Bhitarkanika, the team consisting of eco-spot experts, wild life scientists and environment specialists had on Thursday held discussions with senior officials of the state at a high-level meeting chaired by chief secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi at the state secretariat.
Among others, principal secretary forest and environment Suresh Chandra Mohapatra and chief wildlife warden Sidhant Das were also present.
Briefing the media, Mr Mohapatra, said, “The team has given world heritage tag to seven sites so far. If Bhitarkanika is selected, they will announce it next year and it will become eighth site in India to get the tag. We are hopeful that the mangrove eco-system will be included in the world heritage list.”
In 1975, an area of 672 square km was declared the Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary. The core 145 square km area of the sanctuary was declared Bhitarkanika National Park in September 1998. Gahirmatha Marine Wildlife Sanctuary, which bounds the Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary to the east, was created in September 1997, and encompasses Gahirmatha Beach and an adjacent portion of the Bay of Bengal. Bhitarkanika Mangroves were designated a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance in 2002. It is also famous for its saltwater crocodiles and Olive Ridley sea turtles.