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The Odisha government submits a proposal to establish the Mahendragiri biosphere reserve. It is the 2nd biosphere reserve in the state and situated in the southern part of the state at Mahendragiri hill ecosystem.
Note: Similipal Biosphere Reserve was Odisha’s first such reserve and was notified in 1996.
About Mahendragiri Biosphere Reserve
- Mahendragiri is a hill mountain located in Odisha. The area of the proposed Biosphere Reserve is spread over Gajapati and Ganjam districts in the Eastern Ghats.
- Transitional Zone: The hill ecosystem acts as a transitional zone between the flora and fauna of southern India and the Himalayas. Consequently, the region is an ecological estuary of genetic diversity
- Mythological Significance: Centre has included Mahendragiri in the Ramayana Circuit. The hilltop has ancient temples of Kunti, Yudhistir, Bhima, Arjuna, Nakul and Sahadev of the Mahabharata.
- Besides, the hill has water streams and the origin of the Mahendratanaya River.
- Vegetation: There are four types of vegetation of the Mahendragiri hill complex. They are:
- Sal forests,
- mixed forests,
- Tribe: Some of the major tribes that inhabit Mahendragiri are the Soura tribe, a particularly vulnerable tribal group, also the Kandha tribe.
- Flora: Mahendragiri accounts for 40% of the reported flora of Odisha. 29-nine of the 41 species of threatened medicinal plants of Odisha are found in the proposed biosphere reserve area.
- Fauna: The Indian elephant is the most important animal of Mahendragiri. The other wild animals include the tiger, leopard, hyena, wild bear, deer, antelope, peacock, snake.
- Besides, it is home to 165 species of birds, 23 species of snakes, 15 species of amphibians, three species of turtles, and 19 lizards.
Source: Down To Earth