Two important rivers- one with its sources in Jharkhand (and Know by a different name in Odish(a), and another, with its source in Odisha- merge at a place only a short distance from the coast of Bay of Bengal before flowing into the sea. This is an important site of wildlife and biodiversity and a protected area. Which one of the following could be this?
[UPSC Civil Services Exam – 2011 Prelims]
- Bhitarkanika National Park, located in the Indian state of Orissa, covers an expansive area of 672 square kilometers, making it the second-largest mangrove ecosystem in India.
- Due to its proximity to the Bay of Bengal, the soil of the area is enriched with salts, which supports the growth of vegetation and species typically found in tropical and subtropical intertidal regions.
- The park is renowned for being the breeding ground of endangered saltwater crocodiles, which are a major tourist attraction.
- Additionally, the Gahirmatha Beach, which forms the park’s eastern boundary, is home to the largest colony of Olive Ridley Sea turtles.
- Once used as a hunting ground by the Raj Kanika royal family, the park is now famous for its dense concentration of mangrove trees, which dominate the ecosystem of the region.
- The national park, covering an area of 145 square kilometers, is located in the core area of the sanctuary and boasts exceptional biodiversity.
- The sanctuary is situated in the estuarial region of Brahmani-Baitrani, with the Bay of Bengal to the east.
- In addition to this, the sanctuary is home to many rivers, streams, creeks, accumulated land, backwaters, and mudflats, making it a crucial habitat for unique flora and fauna.
Therefore, option (a) is the correct answer.