|Animals||saltwater crocodile, olive ridley turtle|
|Area||650 km2 (250 sq mi)|
|Oceans or seas||Bay of Bengal|
|Designated||19 August 2002|
Bhitarkanika Mangroves is a mangrove wetland in Odisha, India, covering an area of 650 km (400 mi) in the Brahmani River and Baitarani River deltas.
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 (259 sq mi) was declared the Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary. The core area of the sanctuary, with an area of 145 km2 (56 sq mi), 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.
About 62 mangrove species occur in the Bhitarkanika Mangroves, including Avicenna, Bruguiera, Heritiera and Rhizophora. Reptiles present in the mangroves include saltwater crocodile, king cobra, Indian python and water monitor. Between August 2004 and December 2006, 263 bird species were recorded, encompassing 147 resident and 99 migrant species. A heronry encloses about 4 ha (9.9 acres), where 11,287 nests were counted in 2006.
Olive ridley turtles arrive in January to March for nesting at Gahirmatha Beach. An average of 240,000 nests per season was estimated between 1976 and 1996. Up to 80,000 individuals were captured every year until 1982. Since 1983, collecting and marketing turtles and their eggs is banned.