The Balukhand Sanctuary or the Balukhand-Konark Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the eminent sanctuaries that dot the landscape of the state of Orissa. The sanctuary also illustrates the diverse natural heritage that the picturesque state is blessed with. The beauty and splendor of the panoramic vistas are further accentuated by the variegated species of fauna and the lush flora. Consequently, the Orissa Wildlife Tours are a rage with the tourists.
A well known Orissa Wildlife Sanctuary, the Balukhand Sanctuary hugs the coastline in between Puri and Konark. Sited in Orissa’s Puri district, the moderately sized sanctuary encompasses an area of 72 sq. km and is an oasis of idyllic green. Balukhand Wildlife Sanctuary in Orissa, India was established in the year of 1984. The verdant green and serene ambiance is a welcome refuge for the city slicker tourists.
The coastal ecosystem, with its luxuriant lush green vegetation, undisturbed sandy beaches, and good road network including marine drive road offer high potentialities for developing as a major eco-tourism spot.The sand spits at river mouths provide favorable nesting sites for endangered Olive Ridley sea turtles. Mangrove vegetation is very sparse In this coastal ecosystem. It is confined to the confluence of rivers Kadua and Prachi with the Bay of Bengal.
Balukhand Wildlife Sanctuary in Orissa, India houses a variety of flora and fauna. Some of the important fauna that you can see here consists of spotted deer, black buck, monkey, squirrel, striped hyena, jackal, jungle cat, and mongoose. This sanctuary is also home to a wide range of birds and reptiles. Significant flora housed in Balukhand Wildlife Sanctuary are Anacardium, Casuarina, neem, tamarind, and Karanja, to name a few.
This is perhaps the only protected area in the state where a population of about 100 blackbucks live and show a preference for sandy areas including coastal sand dunes.The Indian Blackbuck (Antilope cervicapra), is one of the three species of antelopes found in Odisha. The other two are Nilgai (Boselaphus tragocamelus) and the Chowsingha (Tetracercus quadricornis). All the three are even-towed (Artiodactyla) Bovids. Blackbuck is considered to be the fastest animal in the world next to Cheetah.