Chandaka: Wilderness, so near to the city
Situated on the outskirts of the state capital, and spread over an area of 193.39 sq km, Chandaka is a treasure house of biodiversity and popular among wildlife enthusiasts for its successful conservation of elephants. The sanctuary is also a home to a number of threatened wild animals and birds.
Besides the elephants, visitors can also spot leopard, hyena, spotted deer, wild boar, pangolin, peafowl , red jungle fowl, white ibis, dabchicks, open bill stork, egret, python, monitor lizard in their natural habitats. The natural water body and forests provide suitable nesting ground for 174 species of migratory and resident birds. While Kochilaberana, Pitagadia and Charichhak watch towers provide an excellent platform to watch the inhabitants of the forest go about their daily routine, the ones at Kumarkhunti and Amblio have the comfort of rest houses where one can make a night halt and have a date with wild animals and birds without disturbing them.
The forest was once teemed with tiger, leopard, sambar, barking deer, chital, wild boar, gaur and other wild animals. However, the exploitation of timber and construction activities in and around the forest area deteriorated the habitat.
It was only in 1982, that the area was declared as a wildlife sanctuary for overall protection of the forest especially to provide a safe haven for resident elephants.