The Bhitarkanika Mangroves are a mangrove wetland in India’s Odisha state. The Bhitarkanika Mangroves cover an area of 650 km2 in the river delta of the Brahmani and Baitarani rivers and are widely considered to be India’s second largest mangrove, in terms of area.
The Bhitarkanika Mangroves were zamindari forests until 1952, when the government of Odisha abolished the zamindari system, and put the zamindari forests in the control of the state forest department. In 1975, an area of 672 km2 was declared the Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary. The core area of the sanctuary, with an area of 145 km2, was declared Bhitarkanika National Park in September 1998. The Gahirmatha Marine Wildlife Sanctuary, which bounds the Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary to the east, was created in September 1997, and encompasses Gahirmatha Beach and an adjacent portion of the Bay of Bengal. Bhitarkanika Mangroves were designated a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance in 2002.