Odisha’s Chilka Lake is one of India’s hotspots of biodiversity and one of the largest brackish water lakes in the world. The lake is home to the rare Irrawady dolphin. The Bhitarkanika wetlands contain the second-largest mangrove ecosystem in Asia. Both these areas are also home to large vulnerable populations dependent on coastal resources. A range of port development activities are also under way.
Every year, hundreds of thousands of endangered Olive Ridley sea turtles come to nest on some of Odisha’s beaches. The turtles are, however, at risk from uncontrolled mechanized fishing in prohibited areas, the non-use of turtle excluder devices, and insensitive tourism. In addition, their mass nesting site on the Gahirmatha coast has been gradually shifting northward over the last 20 years due to coastal erosion.