The land of Orissa is home to a rich variety of flora, fauna and avi-fauna. These species are efficiently preserved at the national parks and sanctuaries of Odisha. Much of the credit for the existence of such a vivid variety of bio-diversity goes to the topography of the state that plays a pivotal role in sustaining the wildlife.
Flora of Orissa
The state of Odisha houses very rare species of flora comprising Orchids and Mangroves. The Bhitarkanika sanctuary is home to large variety of mangroves and thus the second largest Mangrove ecosystem of India. While the southern and western parts of Orissa are predominated by lush green forests, the eastern plains are extremely fertile lands owing to their proximity to their proximity to the coastal region. Moreover the forest of the state are populated with trees of Teak and Bamboo along with some trees of medicinal values and some kendu plants. These forests are mainly classed into tropical dry deciduous forest and tropical moist deciduous forest that are outnumbered with rosewood, Haldi, Sal, Sanghvan and Piasal trees. Balukhanda and Chandaka reserve are the famous forest reserves in Orissa.
Fauna of Orissa
The forests of Orissa nurture a wide and rare variety of fauna from the Royal Bengal Tigers to the giant Asiatic elephants. The state is home to eighteen wildlife sanctuaries, three national parks and three wildlife reserves. The forests serve as abode for Leopards, Lion Tailed Macaque, Barking Deer, Giant Squirrel, Indian Pangolin, Mouse Deer, Chowsinghas, Flying Cat, Sloth Bear, Sambar and Wild Dogs. It is also the habitation for reptiles such as Cobra, Python, Gharial etc.
The Chilka Lake is home to an array of migratory birds and a famous biodiversity hotspot in the country. The Lake houses as much as 426 species of plants such as Leguminosae and Poaceae, accompanied with some sea grass species like, ceylanica, parasites, epiphytes and lithophytes are also present in Chilka.
The lake is also wintering grounds for birds from Caspian Sea, Baikal Lake, Russia, Siberia and Mangolia. Some of the birds that can be seen here are Lesser Flamingos, Night Herons Grey herons, Purple herons, Goliath Heron, Pond Herons, Egrets, Spoonbills, Storks and Godwits.
The marine ecosystem of Chilka is home to 323 aquatic species that comprises 261 species of fishes, 28 species of prawns and 34 species of crabs and the majestic Irawaddy Dolphins. Moreover, some of the endangered species found here are Milk fish (Seba khainga), ten pounder (Nahama), Indo-Pacific tarpon (Panialehio), Bream (Kala khuranti), Hilsa (Tenuealosa) and Mullet R. corsula (Kekenda).