Balasore: Kuldiha wildlife sanctuary, spread over 272.75 square/km in Nilagiri and Oupada blocks in Balasore district, is a treasure trove for wildlife lovers and tourists.
Significantly, the sanctuary with its rich biodiversity plays host to a number of exotic bird species over last many years. The sanctuary is a safe habitat for elephants, too.
The sanctuary is thronged by elephants, leopards, bears, barking deer, spotted deer, sambars, boars, hornbills, peacocks, hawks, and many species of birds of prey.
Now, a major attraction for tourists is a number of foreign birds. The other major attraction for tourists is tribals living in its surroundings. Their colourful clothing, culture, music, festivals and customs have enriched the area in the sanctuary.
According to reports, 254 varieties of birds are found in Kuldiha sanctuary. In winter, thousands of migratory birds fly from Andaman and Nocobar islands, the Himalayas, Bangladesh, South Africa, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Among foreign birds arriving at Kuldiha are Malabar trogon, heart-spotted woodpecker, crimson sunbird, varnai hanging parrot, white rumped shama, blue bearded bee-eater, blue bearded kingfisher, velvet-fronted nuthatch, pin-striped tit babbler, black crested bulbul, black-naped monarch, rosy minivet, Asian paradise flycatcher, forest wagtail and yellow rumped flycatcher.
These birds are found to be staying around water bodies at Gadasimulia, Kanjipani, Mechhakund, Chemachata and Rusiainside the sanctuary.
Importantly, population of various birds is increasing in the sanctuary, which has brought cheers to the nature lovers, bird watchers, environmentalists and wildlife activists.
The forest department is also enthused over such development. The bird hunting inside the sanctuary has been curbed with a host of protective measures and awareness campaigns by the authorities.
Once in the sanctuary, tourists enjoy the nature agog with rich flora and fauna. Various facilities have been made for tourists– night accommodation and tasty meals at Gohirabhola, boating and wildlife tracking.
The department has made provision of guides for tourists. From November 1 to June 15, tourists are found in large number at Gadasimulia, Jodachua, Kuldiha bungalow, Purunapani, Mukhachaturi, Gohirabhola and Chemachata.
Famous Panchalingeswar shrine is also inside the sanctuary. Tourist guide Manoranjan Das said over the last ten years, foreign birds have started coming to Kuldiha due to its green and safe environment.