Odisha is adorned with the beauty and blessings of Mother Nature. It houses various national parks and wildlife sanctuaries. One such wildlife sanctuary is the Balukhand-Konark Wildlife Sanctuary.It is situated in the sprawling town of Puri. The wildlife sanctuary enjoys the wonderful confluence of flora and fauna. Two rivers namely the Nuanai River and the Kushabhadra River have their river mouths in here. The two rivers run their course in here. The area under this wildlife sanctuary is considered as a marine-land mass interface belt in the Konark-Puri transition area. Balukhand-Konark Wildlife Sanctuary is lined by plantations of casuarine and cashew trees. It is situated in Konark so it also supports marine life.
More about Balukhand-Konark Wildlife Sanctuary
Balukhand-Konark Wildlife Sanctuary covers an area of 71.71 square kilometers. It houses a wide varied of flora and fauna. Around 300 species of plants and animals are present at this wildlife sanctuary. In addition to this there exists 30 springs. The forests in this sanctuary houses various tress including Tamarind, Casuarina, Karanja, Polanga, Neem, Anacardium etc. The star attraction of this place is black buck. Though the area is famous for the presence of abundance of spotted deer but the presence of black buck steals the show. Other wildlife here includes hare, Olive Ridley, Jackal, Jungle cat, Monitor Lizard etc. The area under this wildlife sanctuary falls under the ecologically sensitive zone.
Issues Pertaining in Balukhand-Konark Wildlife Sanctuary
The sanctuary faces a number of challenges due to various factors including human encroachment, industries etc. on a daily basis. On an average 2000 people enter into the sanctuary to sustain their livelihood. This had led to man-animal conflicts. This has led to loss of life of animals due to accidental causes. It is no surprise to see a dead animal on the road while visiting the sanctuary.
The setting up of various institutions mainly educational institutions in and around the sanctuary has led loss of habitat of various plants and animals. Industrial pollution is another factor which is affecting both flora and fauna.
Earlier this area was planted by the local varieties of flora. But due to human encroachment and other factors this is being replaced by weeds. The conservation of the rich biodiversity of this place is the need of the hour.
The area under the wildlife sanctuary is also being considered for promoting international tourism. Various multi-national companies are willing to invest in making five star hotels, helipads etc. in this area. This will no doubt enhance the tourism industry but will definitely prove to be a great threat to the existing plant and animal life present here.
In order to curb these problems various initiatives have been taken up by the concerned authorities. The conversation of the flora and fauna of this place is tremendously important. The wildlife here is at a very sensitive situation and in order to save it wild Orissa has taken various initiatives.
Some of these include capturing various varieties of snakes and then leaving them in the sanctuary. Awareness programs, poster making competitions, slogan writing competitions etc. are conducted time to time in order to spread awareness among the masses. Programs related to rescue and release are carried out every effectively here. From October 2008 to October 2009 on an average of 5-6 snakes were rescued and released inside the sanctuary.
Balukhand-Konark Wildlife Sanctuary, a Tourist Destination
The Balukhand-Konark Wildlife Sanctuary is located between Puri and Konark. The beautiful coast of Bay of Bengal houses this wonderful sanctuary. As a result of which there exists both terrestrial and aquatic life forms in here. It covers an extensive area of 72 square kilometers and houses sandy beaches, coastal dunes, Casurine trees etc. The beaches are a major tourist destination and visitors love to spend their time in the splashing waters of the beach.
A Tourist’s Guide to Balukhand-Konark Wildlife Sanctuary
Balukhand-Konark Wildlife Sanctuary is open on days of the week. There no such particular opening and closing time. It is open for 24 hours. One can find comfortable resorts in Konark to stay. Puri is also full of hotels and other accommodation options. One can reach this sanctuary from either Konark or Puri as it is well connected by road to these places. The nearest railway head is at Puri railway station and the nearest airport is in Bhubaneswar airport. Another tourist attraction in here is the provision of setting up camps in the sanctuary. This attracts a large number of tourists every year. This place has developed as a tourist spot in the recent years. It still has miles to go but a visit to this place is a definitely a wonderful experience. It is worth every penny.