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Ushakothi, sprawls over an area of about 285sq kms was declared a sanctuary in 1962. Mainly inhabited by the tribal heads, Ushakothi is a veritable paradise for many bona fide denizens of nature, animals and plants. The sanctuary is one of Orissa's smaller sanctuaries and popular tourist destinations. The sanctuary also supports ecotourism activities.
The popular Hirakud Dam, lies on the west of the Sanctuary. The sanctuary's dense deciduous forest are flanked by the Wardha and Penganga rivers covers 130 sq. km. Spiritually created by legendary Sage Vashishtha, River Wardha is also known as River Vashishtha.
The forests of this sanctuary are mainly dry deciduous, comprises of Sandalwood, Arjun, Neem, Acacia, Sal and Casuarinas.
The most popular feature of the wildlife reserve is the Black spotted Panthers, Royal Bengal tigers and Wild Asian elephants. The sanctuary is also home to a total of 35 elephants and about 15 tigers. As these are nocturnal creatures, visitors generally need to get a jeep safari to get a closer view. For this, the forest deeartment provides Jeeps for visitors to explore the sanctuary. The other main attraction of the sanctuary are the Bison and Sambar. Other residents of the sanctuary include Leopards, Nilgai, Cheetal, Wolves, Spotted deer, Gaur, Flying squirrels and Racket tail dragons. The sanctuary also has sloth bears which are quite rare but one can see them in the late evenings, when they come to drink water in the nearby river.
The sanctuary also has rich in avian fauna and the main attractions are Racket tail drangos and Flying squirrel.
The two masonry watch towers installed in the Sanctuary provide a good view of the animals which flock to the nearby watering points and also one can have an aerial view of the surroundings. These watch towers are located near the saline tank inside the sanctuary at a height of 30 feet.
Visitors who wish to tour the reserve have the option of getting Spot lights and Guide from the Forest officer of the reserve, for a small fee. Photography is strictly prohibited and prior permits need to be obtained to enter the sanctuary.
Entry fees : Indian Rs 10/- per day, Foreigners Rs- 100/-per first day. Students and Physically handicapped people will get ncession on entry; For heavy vehicles Rs- 10/-, Light vehicles Rs- 5/-per day. Camera : Rs- 2/-.