Chilika was nominated as Ramsar site in 1991 for its rich bio diversity and is home of rare and endangered species listed in the IUCN Red List of threatened aquatic, non aquatic plants and animals. The Lagoon is a rich source of fishery resources with vast fishing ground for the livelihood of lots of fishermen who live in and around the Lagoon.
In addition it is the major winter resort for migratory waterfowl in Indian subcontinent. Flamingo, teal, bar headed goose, white bellied sea eagle arrive from distant parts of Russia, Kirghiz, Mongolia, Central and South East Asia, Ladakh and the Himalayas during October and return in March. Chilika one of two lagoons in the world that houses significantly endangered species Irrawaddy dolphins in India and can seldom be spotted in Kalijai and Balugaon. Other wild animals are black bucks, spotted deer, fox, jackal, hyena, jungle cat, mongoose, squirrel, monkey, porcupine can be seen here.
Eco tourism project an initiative of Chilika Lake Development Authority to maintains the eco systems, development and activities of the Lagoon along with walkway and watchtower for bird watching. Motor driven yacht and speed boat services are obtainable from Orissa Tourism Development Corporation for boating in Chilka. Sea kayak can be hired from Water Sports Complex of Odisha Tourism to explore the Nalaban island.