Bhitara Kanika was under the jurisdiction of the erstwhile Kanika Estate. It is covered with deep mangrove forests and saline rivers and was declared a sanctuary on 21.04.1975. It is a world-famous place for natural crocodile breeding. Located in the estuarial region of Brahmani-Baitarani, in the northeastern place of Kendrapara districts, the national park covers an area of 672 sq km of mangrove forests and wetland. Crossed by a thick network of brooks with the Bay of Bengal on the east , Bhitar Kanika is home to over 215 species of birds, including winter migratory birds from Europe and Central-Asia as the park provides a congenial atmosphere and serene, pollution-free environment , birds migrate thousands of miles to Bhitar Kanika to escape the harsh winter in Ladakh, ManoSarovar, Himalayan region, Siberia, Kazaksthan, Mongolia, Russia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Northen Asia, and some central European countries. The area was designated as the second Ramsar Site of the state in August 2002.
It is a unique area with rich biodiversity as it covers different ecosystems such as landmass, tidal water bodies of the deltaic region, estuaries and territorial waters of the Bay of Bengal along with their associated flora and fauna.