Similipal National Park

The Similipal National Park, located at the southeastern corner of the Deccan Peninsula in the Mayurbhanj District, Odisha, is the largest tract of contiguous forest with immeasurable ecosystem service value. Similipal falls under the Deccan Peninsular bio-geographic zone, Chhattnagpur Province, and Mahanadian Region. The vast terrain of Similipal with wide altitude and climatic and topographic variations, crisscrossed by a large number of annual streams has a unique mix of Western Ghats, Eastern Ghats, and Sub-Himalayan vegetation species. The floral composition suggests a connecting link between the South Indian and Northeast Sub-Himalayan species The Similipal National Park forest is a mainly moist mixed deciduous forest with suitable microclimatic conditions and tropical semi-evergreen forest with dry deciduous forest and grassland. It is the largest watercourse in North Odisha

With wide altitudinal and climatic variations, a rich diversity of habitats, and a mosaic of landscapes, Similipal supports an interesting flora and fauna composition. The entire landscape supports more than 1352 plant species along with 94 species of orchids of which three species are endemic. It is also home to some endemic cultivars and aquatic grass species It contains 7% flowering plants and 8% orchids of India There are 55 species of animals, 361 species of birds, 62 species of reptiles, 21 species of amphibians, and many species of insects and microfauna. Similipal National Park houses the largest population of tigers (Panthera tigris) in Odisha and the only population of melanistic tigers in the world. Other carnivores found here are the leopard (Panthera pardus), leopard cat (Prionailurus bengalensis), fishing cat (Prionailurus viverrinus), forest cat (Felis chaus), and wolf (Canis lupus). Active management of the Mugger (Crocodylus palustris) has revived its population along the Khiri and Deo rivers. Similipal Tiger Reserve is also home to Odisha’s largest elephant. The major ungulate species found here are sambar (Rusa unicolor), chital (Axis axis), barking deer (Muntiacus vaginalis), gaur (Bos gaur), and mouse deer (Moschiola indica).