Spread in an area of 175 sq kms Chandaka Elephant Sanctuary is sprawling amidst the uplands of Khurda and Cuttack in Orissa in the biotic regions of the Eastern Ghat. The forests of Chandaka were declared an elephant reserve in the year 1982 to protect the endangered population of these mammoth species. The lush green hillocks of Chandaka sustaining the herds of Asian Elephants are a great site for eco tourism.
The protected territories of the reserve serves as a home for many mammals, avians, reptiles and butterfiles.
The large herds of wild asiatic elephants dominate the landscape of this reserve. To witness these largest creature on land roam around the forests of Chandaka which serves as a natural habitat for them is an expereince of a lifetime. Their groups being led by the oldest female of the family and the view of all the females of the herd caresseing the babies together has many qualities to be passsed on to humans. Chital, Barking deer, Mouse deer, Wild pig, Common langur, Rhesus monkey, small Indian civet, Common Indian mongoose, Small Indian mongoose, Ruddy mongoose, Pangolin, Sloth bear, Leopard Indian wolf and Hyena are the other prominet mammals.
Rock python, Bengal Monitor lizard, Chameleon, Common skink, Indian flap shell turtle, Russel's viper, Bamboo pit viper, Common krait, Common vine snake, Kukri snake, Indian bronze back comprise the reptile population of Chandaka.
The reserve is flocked by the migratory avians coming from far off regions like Siberia, Afghanistan, Iran and Europe during the Winters and in July. The areas near the Kamarkunthi resorvoir is the prime site for attraction amongst these guests as they engage themselves in many water sports !!!. The prominent amongst them are the species of Ducks like Garganey, common Teal, Pintail, spot billed, bramhiny Duck and white eyed Pochard. Migratory birds like Open billed Storks, pond Heron, Egrets and Cormorants visit the reserve in the month of July.
One can visit Bhitarkanika from October to April, when the weather remains pleasant and allows the movement of the wildlife as well as the tourists.
Peafowl, Red jungle fowl, Crested serpent eagle, Great horned owl, Black headed oriole, Paradise fly catcher, Coucal and stone curlew, Lesser whistling Teal, Dabehick, Cotton Teal, Nakta, lesser Cormorant, bronze winged Jacana, white breasted Waterhen, pied, little blue King fishers and red wattled Lapwings are the popular resident birds of Chandaka.
With the onset of monsoon the reserve witness the arrival of colorfull butterflies in their folks.
The prime beast of the woods of Chandaka comprises the wild Elpehants. Like most of the beasts of the jungles even these giant creature are active during the dark hours of the night and carry out most of their daily course during then. Watch towers have been erected near the sites which are frequently visted by them to allow the tourists to have a glimpse on the life of these wild creatures. These watch towers are excellent locations to peep into the life of the birds and other animals of the reserve.